It may be a simple task to list the benefits from implementing BIM technologies, processes and policies; however, the combination of activities needed to encourage BIM adoption and facilitate its diffusion is anything but simple. To achieve whole-market benefits attributed to BIM, a comprehensive, structured and coordinated effort by a large number of stakeholders is needed.
This episode expands the discussion started in Episode 20 covering the role policy makers in facilitating BIM adoption. It reflects the research into country scale BIM diffusion currently being undertaken in collaboration with Dr Mohamad Kassem of Teesside University. A new macro adoption model is introduced below identifying all industry stakeholders who share (or are supposed to share) the responsibility of leading, supporting or – at least - participating in macro BIM diffusion.
BIM diffusion is a term describing the spread and adoption of BIM tools, workflows and protocols within a defined population. This diffusion may occur within an organization (internal or micro diffusion) or across a whole market (macro diffusion). However, BIM diffusion is not a measure of software licenses bought or a reflection of BIM awareness/readiness, but a measure of actual use on live projects after the Point of Adoption (PoA) .
Diffusion within a market occurs through commercial (e.g. supply and demand) and social pressures (e.g. contagion and coercion). We typically experience these pressures as top-down, bottom-up, or middle-out  dynamics involving different types of industry stakeholder. In some countries, we witness these clearly as a government mandate encouraging, incentivising or even enforcing  a structured approach to BIM implementation. In other countries, we observe BIM diffusion spreading organically through the efforts of construction organizations and industry associations.
Irrespective of how diffusion occurs within different markets, and which diffusion approach is faster or better, all stakeholders play an important role (whether explicit or implicit) in the macro diffusion process. By acknowledging industry stakeholders as a network of actors , we can incorporate their unique yet complementary abilities into a structured and coordinated BIM diffusion strategy.
Stakeholder as Players
BIM Players is the term used by the BIM Framework  to describe all construction industry stakeholders. Each of these players have their own deliverables and requirements yet are all interacting within the BIM domain . A good way to understand players is to organise  them (mentally of course) into BIM Fields, Player Groups and Player Types. Starting at the highest conceptual level, BIM Players operate within three overlapping BIM Fields :
- The Technology Field incorporates all players involved in the development, sale and maintenance of software, hardware, and networking systems. An example of a BIM Technology Player is Trimble or the computer shop down the street;
- The Process Field incorporates all players involved in the procurement, design, construction, manufacturing, operation, management and maintenance of facilities. An example of a BIM Process Player is AECOM or Jack the plumber; and
- The Policy Field incorporates all players involved in guiding practitioners, delivering protocols and generating regulatory frameworks to organize stakeholder relationships. An example of a BIM Policy Player is the Federal Government or a PI insurance agent.
Traveling a bit deeper into the three overlapping BIM Fields, the Macro Diffusion Responsibilities model (Fig. 1) identifies 9 unique Player Groups (PG):
Fig. 1 Macro Diffusion Responsibilities model v1.1 (full size, latest version)
PG 1. Policy Makers: these are the authorities involved in mandating, regulating or facilitating the adoption of innovative systems/processes across an industry or a whole market (e.g. the BIM Task Group in the UK or BCA in Singapore)
PG 2. Educational Institutions: the universities and other learning institutions which develop and/or deliver educational programs and learning material (e.g. University of Newcastle or Swinburne TAFE)
PG 3. Construction Organizations: the large corporates and SMEs involved in deploying innovative systems/processes for commercial advantage (e.g. Multiplex or a local tiling company)
PG 4. Individual Practitioners: the professionals and tradespeople (including students/trainees) involved in learning or applying innovative systems/processes (e.g. you and me when acting as individuals rather than representing a larger entity)
PG 5. Technology Developers: the software, hardware and network solution providers with offerings targeted at whole industries or specific sectors, disciplines and specialties (e.g. Leica or Acconex)
PG 6.Technology Service Providers: the commercial companies bridging the sales/services’ gap between technology providers and end-users (e.g. A2K or an independent software trainer)
PG 7. Industry Associations: the associations representing the interests of their individual/ organizational members within a specific industry, sector, discipline or speciality (e.g. Australian Institute of Architects or APCC)
PG 8. Communities of Practice: the informal groupings of individual practitioners with a common interest in a specific software, hardware or network solution (e.g. an ArchiCAD user group or SmartGeometry)
PG 9. Technology Advocates: the formal groupings of individuals and organizations focused on the development/promotion of technology-centric standards and policies (e.g. buildingSMART or ACS)
Each of the 9 Player Groups  identified in Fig. 1 includes multiple Player Types specific to that PG. For example, PG3 (construction organizations) is composed of various player types including asset owners, architects, engineers and project managers. Also, PG4 (individual practitioners) is composed of professionals, associated professionals and tradespeople. These distinctions between player groups, player types and unique players (i.e. a specific person, group, association, company or university) allow two main types of activities: Macro BIM Diffusion Assessment and Macro BIM Diffusion Planning .
Macro BIM Diffusion Assessment
The classification of stakeholders into fields, groups and types, allow policy makers and other researchers  to conduct a number of assessments and comparisons of stakeholders’ involvement in BIM diffusion. For example, the Macro Diffusion Responsibilities model (Fig. 1) can be used to:
- Compare the BIM diffusion activities of one player group to other groups within the same market. This allows us to answer questions similar to: “which player group played a more leading BIM diffusion role in ‘Country A’: Education Institutions or Industry Associations?”
- Compare the BIM diffusion activities of two or more player types within the same player group. For example: “how does the role played by asset owners in BIM diffusion differ from the role played by large contractors?”
- Compare the BIM diffusion activities of players of the same player type across different markets. For example: “is the BIM diffusion role played by large contractors in ‘Country A’ similar to the role played by large contractors in ‘Country B’?”
- Isolate BIM players by their group/type and analyse their BIM diffusion activities. For example: “what is the role played by Industry Association X in facilitating BIM diffusion within its membership base?”
Macro BIM Diffusion Planning
Macro BIM diffusion is a whole-market dynamic that requires the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders. To encourage stakeholder participation and minimise duplication of efforts, we can map the 9 player groups’ efforts against the 8 macro diffusion components (Episode 21) using a Diffusion-Role Matrix (Fig. 2):
Fig. 2 Diffusion-Role Matrix (sample country)
This sample Diffusion-Role Matrix clarifies who is doing what (diffusion assessment) or who should be doing what (diffusion planning). This is achieved by listing each macro diffusion component (x-axis) and assigning a predefined role to each player group  (y-axis). The 3 Player Roles used here  are:
[A] Leading Role played by those responsible for initiating, developing and maintaining a structured diffusion effort (e.g. developing a strategy or generating a data-validation tool);
[B] Supporting Role played by those assisting the Leading Role to communicate and engage with other players, and in delivering diffusion components; and
[C] Participating Role played by early adopters of innovative systems/processes.
These Player Roles are neither exclusive nor permanent. A macro diffusion component (e.g. Regulatory Framework ) can be led by more than one player, and the Leading Role may pass from one player to another over time. Also, a Leading Role may be played by any player type. For example, developing an overall BIM Objectives, Strategy and Milestones (another macro diffusion component) may be led by a Policy Maker (e.g. BCA in Singapore) and/or by a Technology Advocate (e.g. buildingSMART in Spain). In essence, the participation and distribution of Player Roles among Player Groups depends on market-specific organizational culture, macro diffusion dynamics (Episode 19), and policy implementation approaches (Episode 20).
BIM diffusion across a country is a group sport, with specialised BIM players and common BIM fields. This post introduced a model clarifying how different industry players can be grouped to allow the assessment/planning of structured BIM diffusion. BIM players within and across markets are increasingly interconnected and complement each other. Therefore, without a coordinated effort – whether through a government/EU/UN/IG mandate, major-client requirements or magic-like industry consensus - the BIM diffusion process will suffer from implementation gaps and/or will generate overlapping deliverables. As witnessed in a number of early-adopter countries , very similar BIM guides and inconsistent BIM deliverables are generated over and over again. It is therefore important – if we want to achieve macro BIM benefits within a country or across multiple countries - to understand the role different stakeholder groups’ play. We can then build upon this understanding to tailor a structured, coordinated and measurable BIM diffusion effort.
 Refer to Point of Adoption model (Episode 22, Fig.2)
 Refer to Macro Diffusion Dynamics model (Episode 19, Fig.1)
 Refer to the Policy Actions model (Episode 20, Fig.1)
 The BIM Framework is the main deliverable of the author’s ongoing research (2005 – current date). To learn more, please either download my PhD Thesis (2013) or visit the framework’s dedicated blog
 The BIM domain is a loose word describing all knowledge and activities pertaining to virtually integrated Design, Construction and Operation (viDCO). You can think of the (BIM) domain as a porous sphere of specialised topics/activities, overlapping with other spheres, and all floating within a huge space of expanding knowledge!
 Pending further research, the 10th player group at the intersection of the three fields is intentionally excluded from this model
 Researchers are not only those souls found within [the confines of] academia. There are probably more research-minded practitioners (my team!) outside academia than there are inside it. If you are reading this blog and – more tellingly – this blog footnote, you are probably a researcher
 This Diffusion-Role Matrix is shown at Granularity Level 1. A more granular matrix can list Player Types or Players on the y-axis, and Macro Diffusion Sub-Components on the x-axis
 The Player Roles used in the sample matrix are positive-leaning roles applicable to willing adopters of innovative systems/processes. Neutral and negative-leaning roles are not covered in this post
 Refer to Episode 21, Table 3
 Refer to “Building Information Modeling: Analyzing noteworthy publications of eight countries using a knowledge content taxonomy” (Kassem, Succar and Dawood, 2015) (To be published around June 2015, abstract available)