“The architect’s two most important tools are: the eraser in the drafting room and the wrecking bar on the site” – Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect and interior designer.

In construction and design the use of a prototype is obvious: we need the visual representation of the final future construction in order to persuade stakeholders to take various production related decisions. This is probably why digital twins are so popular among engineers.

After finishing my studies at Lund University in the mid 90’s, I joined Nationalencyklopedin. I was hired to lead the development of a multimedia encyclopedia. At that point it was the most extensive encyclopedia in the world, based on the 20-volume printed version, supplemented with a 3-volume dictionary and several additional volumes. My prototype of the future multimedia product was as real as a construction prototype, and it was based on marketing intelligence and expert knowledge in order to secure functionality and design.

“If a picture is worth a 1000 words, a prototype is worth a 1000 meetings” – Tom & David Kelly

With the prototype the development of the final product was secured. However, the new product was a digital product and not a traditionally printed one. At that point in time it was delivered on multiple CD’s. The organization, the business activities and surrounding business model, was far from the original printing business. Even the editorial work was affected. For example, the prototype hinted at the need for extensive classification of the 180,000 articles it contained. Possible solutions to the challenges with regards to who should be involved in this massive classification work, forty man-years in the end, was not depicted. Nor did we have we an overview of all illustrations, some 20,000 of them, who supplied them, or the associated legal requirements. These issues and others resulted in many meetings and endless discussions. I realize today that I was lacking the power of digital twin technology.

Years later I had the opportunity to help set up and run the operations of a company in Southern Sweden which focused on system integration. When I joined this company, we were about twenty people. Four years later we were over hundred. The strategy work was based on the balanced scorecard management tool, enabling us to get varied views of priorities. However, a lot of work was done in Excel to keep track of progress. Another component in the strategy work was scenario planning and visualization. Different scenarios were described in writing and illustrated with images. This allowed the audience to really grasp the vision. We were able to visualize WHAT we wanted to accomplish, but not describe HOW.

“The devil is not in the details but in the relations between the details” – Eero Haara

When I first came in contact with Ortelius, I saw in inorigo® an uncut diamond that would give me, as a business consultant, the ability to depict the current situation enabling the organization to really understand itself. As our client Eero Haara, Head of Architecture & Information Management at Preem AB, nicely put it: “The devil is not in the details but in the relations between the details.”

On a daily basis, my colleagues and I support our clients by collecting pieces of information from various sources, including human knowledge, and compiling them into a reflection of their organization. The information is visualized in various ways. My favorite one is a connection graph, often appreciated by the clients since they can easily see and identify the interdependencies.

At my current assignment, visualization is crucial in creating awareness of the current business needs and the future possibilities. The prototypes that have been developed show the power of connected information, how it should be managed. And they have also allowed for the simulation of various aspects of the organization, an important capability that was not available to me in other roles at other companies. So, as a business development specialist, the digital twin prototyping gives me the simple eraser and digital wrecking bar that will leave no marks on the final construction.

Christian Brandt
Senior Consultant at Ortelius.