The Future. Built Smarter.
IDEA! Part 1: Freeing up minds to help foster innovation

IDEA! Part 1: Freeing up minds to help foster innovation

September 13, 2022

In the first of two related episodes, structural engineer Laura Hagan talks about her participation in IMEG's internal IDEA! program, designed to foster innovation and sustainability across the firm and investigate future trends in the AEC industry. The program also frees up participants to focus on their areas of interest and take what they have learned or developed back to their team. "A big part of what I've been working on is accessing, calculating, and tracking embodied carbon on projects and developing a tool to visualize and communicate the information to a client early on to help make project decisions,” Laura says. “That’s a big goal for me and something I think is pretty powerful.” 

IDEA! Part 2: Using AR to ‘translate’ project design

IDEA! Part 2: Using AR to ‘translate’ project design

September 13, 2022

Using a HoloLens to provide an augmented reality (AR) experience is discussed in the second of two episodes on IMEG's internal IDEA! program. This segment features guest Abby Coleman, an IMEG intern who participated in the program, which is designed to foster innovation and expose participants to future trends in the AEC industry. Abby describes the HoloLens and AR as a "translator" between designer and client, and discusses several AR experiences she and others in the program created, including an educational STEM-themed AR tour of a library and a portrayal of how a HoloLens allows clients to immerse themselves within a design.

Equity in healthcare: Caregivers discuss inclusion, diversity, and bias

Equity in healthcare: Caregivers discuss inclusion, diversity, and bias

August 11, 2022

This episode of The Future Built Smarter examines equity in healthcare. Providing the caregiver perspective on the topic are guests Dr. Anne Doran, a pediatric hospitalist at Advocate Children’s Hospital, Chicago, and Dr. Megan Morgan, a registered nurse and pediatric nurse educator at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Both share their views and experiences on equity, inclusion, diversity, and bias within the healthcare environment. “We've seen a big push to have a more astute awareness of where the gaps in care are and how we address diverse populations so that we are inclusive of all—culturally, spiritually, and even among populations of varying levels of health literacy,” says Dr. Doran. “We have a dedicated team of people bringing an awareness and education to the organization to be able to deliver care in an effective way.” The ability to overcome language barriers and communicate is paramount, adds Dr. Morgan. “I think the biggest success recently has been interpreter services on an iPad-type device that can be used in patient rooms,” she says. “This provides ‘face-to-face’ interaction with the translator so that the family can see somebody of their culture speaking to them in their language and translating for them. This has created great collaboration among the healthcare team, the patients, and families.”

New R&D center a true garden of innovation

New R&D center a true garden of innovation

July 19, 2022

In this episode of The Future Built Smarter, Jeff Ryan, Managing Principal for Design at Christner Architects, joins us for a discussion on the Ball Helix Central Research & Development Center, winner of a 2022 Design Excellence Merit Award for Innovation from Lab Manager magazine. Christner was the architect, lab planner, and interior designer for the project, and IMEG provided structural, MEP, fire protection, and civil design, in addition to commissioning services. The center transforms the research culture and the scientific capabilities of Ball Horticultural Company, the world’s largest ornamental seed producer. In collaboration with Ball’s steering committee, the design team identified three design principles for the project. “One was, of course, to enable great science,” Jeff says, adding that the company—with an average employee tenure of 27 years—was experiencing a wave of Baby Boomer retirements. “So, they really wanted to elevate their ability to attract researchers and enable new and existing staff in their ability to do great work.” The second goal was to evolve the company work culture through strengthening the existing collaboration, trust, mentoring, communication, respect, and safety, and adding focus on employee happiness, productivity, and wellness. “Finally, they wanted to communicate all the great research that was coming out of the center,” Jeff adds. This would be accomplished by:

  • Improved connectivity between research and business through shared spaces, transparency, and science on display
  • Creating technology and spaces for global communication and collaboration
  • Enhancing client visitors’ experiences with connections to the science, the gardens, and the greater Ball Horticultural Company brand

 

A central part of the project involved incorporating the center’s existing demonstration garden into the overall design of the new building. “This garden is beautiful, and we decided to leverage it in the scientific space with the idea that the researchers would be engaged with the garden as a physical representation of the work they're doing,” Jeff says. “The building is formed so that the garden pushes into the middle of the research space and you can see it from wherever you are. You can see it from the office space and from within the labs and even from the back of house with windows that penetrate all the way through the research space. It’s a stimulating environment for discovery.”

In addition to this podcast, you can learn more about the Ball Helix project and see photos of the facility by reading the Christner Architects project story and the IMEG case study.

The Quadruple Aim & the Built Environment, Part 5: Improving provider satisfaction

The Quadruple Aim & the Built Environment, Part 5: Improving provider satisfaction

June 10, 2022

Improving provider satisfaction is examined in the final episode in a series of podcasts based on the IMEG executive guide, “Enhancing the Quadruple Aim through Data-Driven Decisions in the Built Environment.” This episode features two healthcare providers—Dr. Anne Doran, a pediatric hospitalist at Advocate Children’s Hospital, Chicago, and Dr. Megan Morgan, a registered nurse and pediatric nurse educator at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Both share their experiences as healthcare providers who have worked in a variety of settings. “The caregiver experience has evolved over time as we've become more patient- and family-centered and try to deliver care in a way where we partner with not only the entire healthcare team but have the family be part of it as well,” says Dr. Doran. “It’s a lot more collaborative with families and the entire caregiver team —including nurses, therapists, social workers, case managers. The evolution has been great for families and a lot more collaborative for the team.” The two caregivers also offer input on how to address staff burnout through such things as employee assistance programs and caregiver-only respite spaces. “A chapel, rooftop garden, or areas that families use for respite aren't always ideal locations for caregivers to seek respite,” says Dr. Morgan, whose facility has “tranquility rooms” for staff to utilize. “Having a space that is dedicated to each floor or unit for employees to go and just seek five minutes of respite—maybe that's all the time they have in their day besides a lunch break—is so important.”

SE 2050: A Call for Structural Engineers to Eliminate Embodied Carbon

SE 2050: A Call for Structural Engineers to Eliminate Embodied Carbon

June 3, 2022

In the first of two episodes on reducing embodied carbon in structural systems, IMEG structural engineer Laura Hagan joins Mike Lawless and Joe Payne in a discussion about SE 2050, which calls on all structural engineers to understand, reduce, and ultimately eliminate embodied carbon in their projects by the year 2050. The SE 2050 Challenge was developed by the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF) and the SE 2050 Commitment Program developed by the Sustainability Committee of the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). IMEG joined the Commitment in April. “Structural engineers have always played an important role in the design of a project; now we are able to look at what we are doing through a different lens and see the role we can play in being able to reduce the environmental effects of the buildings we design,” says Hagan. “The more we understand about how to make reductions in embodied carbon, the better the buildings will be for the client, the owner, users of the buildings, the surrounding communities, and the planet as a whole. I’m also looking forward to seeing what happens in the material industries, because we’re going to need a lot of innovation in the materials before we get to the year 2050.”

Life Cycle Analysis: Calculating the embodied carbon in building materials

Life Cycle Analysis: Calculating the embodied carbon in building materials

June 3, 2022

In the second of two episodes on reducing embodied carbon in structural systems, IMEG structural engineer Laura Hagan discusses life cycle analysis (LCA), which, in the context of the built environment, examines the lifetime environmental impacts of the different materials used in a building’s construction. The analysis provides data on the embodied carbon arising from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and eventual disposal or reuse of structural and architectural materials. This information enables clients to understand and compare the potential embodied carbon of various design options. “We’re looking at each and every structural and architectural component—that’s the industry focus right now,” says Hagan. “What’s coming in the near future will be mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components as well.”

The Quadruple Aim & the Built Environment, Part 4: Enhancing Joe’s experience

The Quadruple Aim & the Built Environment, Part 4: Enhancing Joe’s experience

April 14, 2022

Podcast co-host Joe Payne recently spent a fitful night in the hospital. How his experience—and that of all patients—could be improved is examined in the fourth of a series of episodes based on the IMEG executive guide, “Enhancing the Quadruple Aim through Data-Driven Decisions in the Built Environment,” Guest Corey Gaarde, a biomedical engineer and healthcare information technology specialist at IMEG, discusses how the built environment can help healthcare organizations improve the Quadruple Aim’s third goal, enhancing the patient experience. “The patient journey starts at home and ends at home,” he says. “If there are ways that we can bring home-level types of experiences into the healthcare environment, why not? Things like an Alexa-based device in the patient room to play music, to change the television, to control the lights, all hands-free. Things like this are very easy to do in a hotel setting, so why not do them in a patient care environment? ‘Hospital’ is part of the word ‘hospitality, right? We need to push architects and engineers to think this way, IT to think this way, push the design space, and really consider what the overall future vision of a smart patient room or experience looks like.”

Mass timber is hot and getting hotter. Here’s why.

Mass timber is hot and getting hotter. Here’s why.

March 31, 2022

This episode of “The Future. Built Smarter.” examines mass timber — a sustainable, fire resistant, and aesthetic building material that is rapidly gaining use across the globe. Our guest for this episode is Matt Cloninger, a structural engineer for IMEG in Montana who has a lifelong passion for buildings made of wood and who has witnessed mass timber’s recent rise in popularity. “There has been a great fundamental shift in using mass timber in the last couple of years that has made it easier to use structurally,” he says. “More engineers and more owners are designing with cross laminated timber — or CLT — and other mass timber products. In the past the use of mass timber was very limited to small office building type projects, but the building codes have shifted a bit and now give us a little more leeway in what sort of buildings we can design using CLT. Now there are more commercial and industrial applications since the codes allow us to go taller.” Matt also discusses the Stadthaus, a multiple-story residential building in England that exemplifies the benefits of mass timber. “As more owners, developers, and engineers see this product and what it can do, they are going to look at how it might be applied to projects for which they may not have considered it.” For additional information not in the podcast, download IMEG’ executive, “Mass Timber 101.”

The Quadruple Aim & the Built Environment, Part 3: Reducing the Cost of Care

The Quadruple Aim & the Built Environment, Part 3: Reducing the Cost of Care

March 29, 2022

In the third of a series of episodes based on the executive guide, “Enhancing the Quadruple Aim through Data-Driven Decisions in the Built Environment,” Joel Yow, co-founder of linear A, discusses how the built environment can help healthcare organizations achieve the Quadruple Aim’s second goal, reducing the cost of care. “You don’t want to make an investment in a new building that’s meant to reduce the cost of care, and then misplace it or mistime it and then just generally increase the cost of care by not really thinking through the data enough,” he says. “When looking at patient origin, for example, we’ve provided reports and data to clients that show them where their patient populations are coming from in relation to where they are currently located. It always surprises me how often there are two or three people out of 10 in a room who say, ‘I had no idea this high of a percentage is coming from out of state,’ or that ‘this many people are in a service area in which we don’t have any facilities or assets.’ There is this lightbulb that goes off where they realize they really need to understand their patients better in order to better serve them.”

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