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This summer our nation's politicians struggle to cope with the cost of government. This is a pretty common human problem. I have the problem. You have the problem. But Why is it so #%$#  HARD TO FIX IT?

The Costs are Real

The people working in the civil engineering and related marketplaces today have real needs. There are significant man-hour costs for organizations when they move from primitive based CAD software like AutoCAD and Land Desktop to Model based software like AutoCAD Civil 3D.

The software tools are here today and maturing rapidly. The potential productivity, quality control, and construction integration benefits of model-based design are immense and significant to all of us. I don't think anyone can deny that?

To reorganize, learn, and retrain everyone and maybe everything in your Production Design Process is tough when times are good. But we don't do that then. We're human . We don't have a problem. We keep doing what we're doing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Tackling the challenging problem of reducing costs for everyone when resources are impossibly tight requires different perspectives, new ideas, and a long-term commitment to the new vision that must emerge.

Innovation isn't nice nor is it often all that pretty. 

Innovation is a Necessity

Innovation is hard and sometimes painful to do. Everything in us says NO. PLAY IT SAFE. Simply put - We fail a lot to get 'er done. Larry the Cable Guy talks about failure a lot and that's why a lot of people think he's funny too, I suppose.

Experience to a Hard Task Master

The bad news about experience is that there a only a few known and proven ways you can successfully transfer experience and skill from one person to another. Maybe humor is one of them?
If you have kids, manage staff, or train anyone in anything you appreciate this. Most of us unfortunately appear to avoid the known and proven methods that work except when things go wrong as I already pointed out. We're human.

More on Training that Works later... I promise.

People and Computers

One of the people I respect the most in the world (who just happens to be one most trained people too), puts it this way,

"Computers are not people. People are not computers."

What he means is that computers tell us when they're processing (an hourglass spins or the wheel rotates). People usually will not.

Computers are digital and their process is binary - YES and NO. Computers always produce some feedback when you change something...a blown Civil 3D Grading Group or a failed Corridor rebuild is feedback. Yes, a program stop and even the blue screen of death is something. Arrrgh!

We all nod, but we haven't a clue what was just said, what it means, or how to act on it. We hear and see, but we don't listen or understand the picture instantly. That's why the politicians are instructed to and insist on repeating themselves endlessly.

People don't behave like our digital devices because the human brain processes by association and pattern not by the formal rules of binary logic.

In case you didn't know, we could only invent the "rules of logic" because we can associate and construct "Symbolic Experience" from patterns. If you're interested in how that internal brain stuff works and learning about it in an understandable way you might want to read

The Math Gene: 
How Mathematical Thinking Evolved And Why Numbers Are Like Gossip by Keith Devlin

Maps, Houses and Appliances

People need internal mental maps like computers need code, but our mental maps and computer code are not at all the same thing.
Our minds, in fact, insist on building and constantly revising and editing our own internal mental maps. This need for "customization" and "personalization" then is real, human, and actually essential to our survival.

To employ complex software we need a mental map or a "house" to do the work in. Civil 3D then is like a kitchen in a house. There are a lot of tools and ingredients spread out all around us. Some of the tools are buried away in drawers or packed away in a cupboard. Some of the tools we use every day. They sit out on the countertops in plain sight.

We don't need to know how a microwave oven works in a lot of depth to cook a meal these days. 

We do need to know not to try and use a microwave as a hairdryer.

The Jump is the Map to a Better Civil 3D