Episode 202 -Decoding Megaprojects: Insights with Bent Flyvbjerg (Part 2)

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Home Manage This Podcast Episode 202 -Decoding Megaprojects: Insights with Bent Flyvbjerg (Part 2)

About This Episode

Bent Flyvbjerg


In this second part of our conversation with Bent Flyvbjerg, about his research, and his latest book, “How Big Things Get Done” we dive deeper into some more key concepts that shape project management across various industries. We start by exploring the idea of “Pixar Planning,” a method inspired by Pixar Studios’ approach to making movies. This concept emphasizes the importance of thinking slow and acting fast, leveraging iterative processes to refine projects efficiently and inexpensively.

Next, we tackle the concept of modularity, highlighting its crucial role in project scalability and risk mitigation. Bent emphasizes the significance of standardized, modular approaches in driving efficiency and reducing the frequency and severity of project failures. Drawing parallels to the transformation of the shipping industry through containerization, Bent underscores the power of modular thinking in revolutionizing entire sectors.

Bent is the most cited scholar in the world in project and program management and included on Stanford University’s prestigious Top 2% of most cited scholars in the world. He maintains that by embracing modular, iterative approaches, project managers can position themselves for long-term success and impact. Join us as we continue to unpack insights from Bent Flyvbjerg’s research and explore practical strategies for project management success.

Earn more PDUs with our online course by Alan Zucker: FUNDAMENTALS OF AGILE (4.5 PDUs)

Favorite Quotes from Episode

"So, my advice to anybody working in any field is start thinking about how you modularize what you're doing.  Don't ever do bespoke projects.  Only if it's absolutely unavoidable should you ever do bespoke projects.  You should always do projects that have an element of standardization and modularity.  And the larger you can make that element of standardization and modularity, the more successful your projects will be.  …  And every one of us who's working in this industry can make a huge contribution by constantly thinking, how do we make what we do more modular and more standardized?"

Bent Flyvbjerg

"… in order to drive down costs, and in order to be able to scale up quickly enough. We need things that are scalable. So we can't build bespoke things that take forever, and every piece we make is different. We need to do standardized things that are high-quality-looking goods, and extremely efficient, and that we do better and better every time we do them. They become better and better, and cheaper and cheaper, every time we do them, and faster and faster."

Bent Flyvbjerg

"the data clearly support this idea. And the more modular a project is, the more efficient you can be delivering it, and the less risk you have."

Bent Flyvbjerg

The podcast for project managers by project managers. In this second part of our conversation about Decoding Megaprojects with Bent Flyvbjerg, we explore the idea of “Pixar Planning,” a method inspired by Pixar Studios’ approach to making movies. Next, we tackle the concept of Modularity, and the significance of standardized, modular approaches in driving efficiency and reducing the frequency and severity of project failures.

Table of Contents

01:22 … Pixar Planning
06:33 … Iteration
10:37 … Modularity
12:46 … Modular vs. Bespoke
16:20 … Kevin and Kyle
18:04 … Examples from Shipping Containers
22:26 … Advice from Bent
28:26 … Contact Bent
29:22 … Closing

BENT FLYVBJERG:  So, my advice to anybody working in any field is start thinking about how you modularize what you’re doing.  Don’t ever do bespoke projects.  Only if it’s absolutely unavoidable should you ever do bespoke projects.  You should always do projects that have an element of standardization and modularity.  And the larger you can make that element of standardization and modularity, the more successful your projects will be.  So that’s the direction of travel for the whole project industry, no matter what type of project you’re working in.  And every one of us who’s working in this industry can make a huge contribution by constantly thinking, how do we make what we do more modular and more standardized?

WENDY GROUNDS:  You’re listening to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  I’m Wendy Grounds, and as always, I’m joined in the studio by the one and only Bill Yates.  This is Episode 2 of our conversation with Bent Flyvbjerg.  We are thrilled that he generously extended his time with us, and we are eager to share our conversation with you today.

Before we dive in today’s episode, we want to remind you to check out our website, Velociteach.com, where you can easily subscribe to the show so you never miss out on the latest insights and discussions.  And you can also earn PDUs, your Professional Development Units, by listening to our podcast.

Pixar Planning

BILL YATES: We’re going to jump right back in where we left off. Just a quick review. The first two things we talked about were: thinking from right to left; and thinking slow and acting fast. Bent, I want to shift to a third key concept. You know, where we’ve seen some of their amazing movies, and Pixar Studio follows this same idea “think slow, act fast” when they take their approach to making movies. 

Some of the great stories that I’ve read through “Creativity, Inc.,” written by Ed Catmull.  As you and I were just talking before we even started recording this, such a great book, such a great leader Ed Catmull is.  When I read the book back in 2016, I didn’t latch on to what you found in this and through your research, which is this concept of Pixar planning.  So this idea of Pixar planning, I know you go into it deep.  What is it that makes that unique, and how can we apply these same concepts to our projects that Pixar does when they’re developing their movies?

BENT FLYVBJERG:  So Pixar planning is not a concept that Ed Catmull came up with.  This is what we call it because we think that their method is so important and ingenious that it deserves a name, you know.  And it deserves the name “Pixar Planning” because Pixar is the organization who came up with this.  And what surprised us was how much Gehry’s method and the Pixar method, which was spearheaded by Ed Catmull, who was the CEO of Pixar then, he later became also CEO of Disney Animation and Pixar at the same time, and he’s now retired.  So he and his team pioneered this.  And when I read Ed’s book back in 2016 also, I was so excited because – and I started asking my students at Oxford to read the book.

And at first they were like, what?  We don’t work in the movie industry, and certainly not animated movies.  Like why would we want to read about animated movies?  You know, like they needed some convincing.  And I just said, “Just read it and complain afterward.  I’ll pay for the book if you don’t find it worth your while.”  And many of them bought this.  And they agreed, you know, that there’s a lot to learn here.

So they drew the same conclusion as me that this is highly relevant to what we’re doing.  The way it’s highly relevant is that Pixar also simulates their project.  So their project is not a building like in Frank Gehry’s case.  Their project is an animated movie.  And they are world leading in this field in the world, and their success was one reason that I wanted to study them, that they actually had done what no other Hollywood studio has done in more than 100 years.

So, Hollywood goes back about 120 years.  And no other studio has produced such a string of blockbusters as Pixar has.  Actually, it’s fairly widely known in the movie industry that it’s very difficult to create a success, that success for Hollywood movies is notoriously difficult to predict.  So here comes this studio that can just do it.  You know, they can predict the success.  They say, “Our next project is going to be a success.”  It’s a success.  And then they say, “Our next project is going to be a success.”  It’s a success.  Then they said. “Now the third project is going to be a success,” and it’s a success.  And they continue 22 times.  That’s mind-blowing, if you think about it.  And nobody else has been able to do that.  So that of course gets somebody like me interested in that.

And I was very lucky again that Ed Catmull was willing to talk.  Apart from reading his book, we also interviewed him.  He actually talked to my students at Oxford also – or our students at Oxford, they’re not my students – and was very generous, you know, with his knowledge and his time.  And the Pixar planning method is basically simulating the movie up to eight, nine times before they actually shoot it.  So like Gehry is simulating his building on his computer, Pixar does it in the way that first they just write, you know, like a one-page synopsis, like what is this film going to be about?  It might just be a title.

We also interviewed Pete Docter, who is the creative director at Pixar.  And he explained to us, for him, often the idea for a film was just one word, and often the word he got in the shower after he’d been out running.  And he would just get this, like, a rat that cooks, you know, like a crazy idea, like “Ratatouille,” right, is a rat that cooks.  Or a girl who is all in her head, you know. 

So that’s the start, and then just write that down with a paragraph or two, and then circulate it amongst the colleagues at Pixar.  They have these groups, you know, one of which they call “the brain trust,” and get feedback that you don’t have to follow.  So, it’s not a formal process in the sense that you are told what to do.  If you’re the creative director, you do what you want to do, but you get all this useful feedback from your peers and your colleagues.  And you can take it into account, and then you write a second round, which might, instead of one page, it might be four or five pages.  And then you do a third round which might be 20 pages instead, and then the script.

Iteration

So, this is what develops into the manuscript for the movie. It develops like this over eight, nine rounds.  And at one stage, you know, when the script is a bit longer, they start doing storyboards.  So, they start using just their phones, you know, for shooting illustrative scenes.  So, they will make a scene, and they will shoot it.  And in the beginning, they might just have, you know, a dozen or a few dozen storyboards.  And they put them up, and then they film them, so you get a sense of the flow of the film.  That’s part of the simulation.  We’re still doing these eight, nine iterations.  So, we are still iterating.  This is iteration, iteration, iteration, iteration, one after another.

And then this eventually develops into three, 4,000 storyboards.  So now you can really film a very long sequence.  And you’ll have something that is beginning to look like the length of a full feature film; right?  That’s what they do.  And then they will start thinking about what kind of music would be good here?  So, they would put in music.  Without, I mean, they’re not doing any – they haven’t hired the composers yet.  They haven’t hired the musicians.  They will just use whatever they have, just like they take their phones, just cheap production methods that you can do in-house with a team and so on.  The keyword here is “cheap.”  It’s inexpensive to iterate and plan like this.  And this is what they’re doing up to eight, nine times.

And then, you know, in iteration eight or nine they finally have a manuscript where they feel now we can go out, and we can hire in the important actors.  We can hire in the composers and make the score for the movie.  We can hire in the bands that are going to actually record the score.  And we can start using the very expensive computers that you use in order to do the actual animation and so on.  So that’s what happens at that stage, but only after these.

Again, it’s like, for Gehry it’s about a couple of years that they do all this experimenting and iteration and getting things down.  So like Gehry has built his building on the computer before he starts building it in three dimensions in real life.  Pixar has also built its film in a script and on storyboards before it actually starts shooting it.  And that’s why, again, they can act fast and efficiently once they get to the shooting.  So again, this is actually another example of “think slow, act fast.”  So the thinking slow is those two years of iterations at Pixar.  And then they shoot the film fairly quickly, you know, after that.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  And to your point, it’s so inexpensive that way.  Those iterations, they learn so much, and they continue to refine them.  They refine it, and they get it tighter and tighter and tighter.  They get more on point, more on point, every time they go through a feedback session with their teammates at Pixar.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  Ed Catmull had the quote, “The cost of iterations are relatively low; production is where costs explode.”  So, they invest inexpensively over and over and over, have all these feedback sessions.  And then, through that two-year process, then they have a very specific target.  They have specific storyboards.  They know what kind of music is playing in their heads.  And they just have to get someone, hire someone to produce it.  Then they can take their animation team and put them onto something that they know is going to win.  So, it’s a great example.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.  And again, it’s important to underline that not a lot of people do this.  I feel that it’s quite a no-brainer.  I mean, maybe “no-brainer” is belittling it.  And I by no means want to do that.  But it’s certainly commonsensical, you know, when you hear this, you go, like, of course.  Why don’t we all do this; you know?  But that’s the thing about a lot of what these successful leaders are doing, that it is commonsensical.  It makes a lot of sense when you hear about it and when you think about it.  But again, there’s a lot of common sense that people don’t use.  Like the saying goes, common sense is not that common.

WENDY GROUNDS:  That’s the truth.

Modularity

BILL YATES:  Right.  There’s a fourth area, Bent that I want to get into.  And I’m going to start out with a pop quiz for you.  What do these things all have in common:  Legos, wedding cakes, server farms, and solar power?

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Modularity.

BILL YATES:  Yes.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  That they are all built, they all build on a basic building block.

BILL YATES:  Yes.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  And that’s actually the secret.  It’s another secret to success that the leader is – even though you look at Gehry’s buildings, and they look completely unique, when you start pulling them apart, you’ll find that there are lots of Legos in there, basic building blocks.  Even though Gehry doesn’t need, because of his sophisticated computers, he doesn’t need every block to be the same, he can actually make each piece of his building different because it’s all simulated on these high-powered computers. 

But it’s still standardized in the sense that it’s predefined, and you can actually take the software that comes from designing the building, and you can send it to the manufacturer, and they can manufacture the parts of the building directly based on that software, which actually happens on a lot of Gehry buildings, and which is the future, in my view, that’s what’s going to happen in the future.

Gehry has been way ahead of this curve, and people haven’t realized it, that he found the secret sauce for the future.  In the future, this is how buildings are going to be built, designed on computers.  The data of the software is sent to the manufacturers, and the manufacturers will use machines to produce the parts.  And then you don’t have a construction site anymore.  The construction site is going to disappear and become an assembly site.  And that’s why these basic building blocks are so important is that they make that possible.  That’s where you get efficiency and possibilities for scaling.

And that’s what we need, you know, in order to drive down costs, and in order to be able to scale up quickly enough.  We need things that are scalable.  So we can’t build bespoke things that take forever, and every piece we make is different.  We need to do standardized things that are high-quality-looking goods, and extremely efficient, and that we do better and better every time we do them.  They become better and better, and cheaper and cheaper, every time we do them, and faster and faster.

Modular vs. Bespoke

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  Bent, I was just listening to a podcast yesterday on carbon, and trying to remove carbon from the atmosphere.  And it reminded me of when you look at the modularity of different types of projects.  And in your research you show that, of these huge megaprojects, the ones that are most likely to perform well – so back to that one in 200 that would have actually been successful – they tend to be solar power, or they tend to be wind power.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  And you bring home the point, that’s where modularity came in.  Solar panel is you’re building Lego blocks.  Wind power’s similar.  It tends to really support this idea of modular.  Just think in terms of Legos and building on piece by piece.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.  So, the data clearly support this idea.  And the more modular a project is, the more efficient you can be delivering it, and the less risk you have.  We measure the risk of these projects, like the frequency and size of when they go wrong.  And it’s very clear that you have much fewer projects going wrong.  And they go wrong by much less, you know, the more modular they are.  So, the data support this.

And solar is the most modular of all the projects that we look at, and it’s performing the best; you know.  Wind, as you said, it’s also modular.  It’s not nearly as modular as solar, but it’s still very modular.  One wind turbine basically consists of four parts, which is the foundation, the tower, the nacelle, and the wings.  And you just click them on each other, and you link up with the electric grid, you know, and you are ready to produce electricity.  And those wind turbines used to be built on location.  But now, of course, that’s not happening anymore.  Now they are built in factories, and they’re just assembled on location.

And that’s where we need to go with everything.  And the more modular things are, the better we can do it.  So, my advice to anybody working in any field is start thinking about how you modularize what you’re doing.  Don’t ever do bespoke projects.  Only if it’s absolutely unavoidable should you ever do bespoke projects.  You should always do projects that have an element of standardization and modularity.  And the larger you can make that element of standardization and modularity, the more successful your projects will be.  So that’s the direction of travel for the whole project industry, no matter what type of project you’re working in.  And every one of us who’s working in this industry can make a huge contribution by constantly thinking, how do we make what we do more modular and more standardized?

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  Yes.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  How do we stay away from bespoke?

BILL YATES:  Yeah.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Don’t listen to the engineers when they say, because they love to do bespoke, don’t listen to the engineers when we say, oh, we’ve got to do something unique here, something special, and this is something that has never been done before.  Whenever you hear somebody say “something never been done before,” you’ve really got to see that as a warning sign; yeah?

BILL YATES:  Yes, yes, yes, yes.  That was one of the key points to the book and the research that you did to me was, okay, when somebody wants something bespoke, they want something unique, that puts off warning lights in my head.  And I’m thinking, what is the Lego in my project?  What can I find and reproduce?  And that’s such a great mindset for us to take into these conversations on the front end, when we’re defining the why, and then looking at our capability and saying, okay, how can we, as a project team, how can we deliver this?  And how do we reduce risk?  It’s by finding those things that we’ve had experience with that we can repeat again and again and again.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.

Kevin and Kyle

KEVIN RONEY: Project management is a highly sought-after skill set in today’s job market. It’s at the core of what organizations must do— which is ultimately to develop and deliver products and services, improve operations, boost revenues, and create satisfying customer experiences.

KYLE CROWE: In addition, Agile is quickly becoming a popular approach to project management. It places a strong emphasis on swiftly delivering value to both organizations and customers, regularly adjusting project scope and priorities, and allowing for the breakdown of large projects into more manageable tasks. You’ll also find that typically Agile teams are highly collaborative and constantly work to improve team performance.

KEVIN RONEY: While there is no “one –size-fits-all” approach on the project management landscape, many organizations are increasing their use of Agile practices to manage their projects. It is important that we understand what we mean by Agile. For instance, how and when is Agile used?

KYLE CROWE: Well, Agile is typically associated with software development and product development, but it can be much more. It has become a key model for process management, product management, and IT management. Its simplicity in implementation makes it accessible to a wide range of organizations, all of which stand to benefit from its adoption.

KEVIN RONEY: Alan Zucker offers an excellent course via Velociteach where you’ll learn the key concepts and practices associated with Agile, while gaining confidence in your ability to work effectively in an Agile environment. The FUNDAMENTALS OF AGILE course will introduce you to the principles of collaborative and value driven development. In addition, you’ll learn about the most popular Agile methodologies: Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP).  So, whether you are new to Agile or need a refresher on the foundations, this course is for you!

Examples from Shipping Containers

BILL YATES:  One of the things that you brought up, too, I just want to mention this briefly, another example you gave was Marc Levinson.  He wrote a book called “Box,” and he talked about transforming the shipping industry, the way the containers, the boxes, and the shipping of containers across the oceans, you know, you think of those, they’re usually eight feet wide, eight feet tall, about 20 or 40 feet long.  But as he talked about that industry of shipping, it was really transformed by those boxes.

We actually had an episode, we interviewed Marc way back, Episode No. 28.  And it’s another example, it’s similar to me of the Empire State Building that you bring that up.  You know, again they figured out, okay, we’re adding floor after floor after floor, similar to stacking boxes on a ship.  Once we figure out how to optimize that construction of that floor, then we just start to replicate, replicate, replicate.  We’re building on these Legos and taking advantage of modularity.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.  So I think that shipping containers and the Empire State Building are both really good examples in the same breath.  Like when people told the architects and builders on the Empire State Building that they were building a 102-story skyscraper, they said, no, we’re just building the same floor 102 times, you know. 

And they really got good at it.  They compared it to a conveyor belt that they were just moving up this building.  Of course, the first floor it took a bit of time, the second floor a bit better because it was basically the same, using the same kinds of building blocks.  And the third floor they began to gain speed.  They actually, they got into a fantastic clip, you know, where they were building many floors a week.  And this is quite unheard of, you know, that you can do that.  But they did it.

The shipping container, of course, is probably – it’s like solar.  It’s one of the most modular things that you can find that has totally revolutionized, not only the shipping industry, but global trade.  And it’s brought down, from the numbers I’ve seen, it’s brought down shipping costs by way over 90%; you know.  So it’s like the level of shipping costs before the container to the level of shipping costs now is almost like we have approached zero in shipping costs, compared to what it was before.  It was very expensive to ship before when you had to sort of hand load everything, and you had stevedores who were specialized in how to pack a ship and so on, compared to the shipping container.

Now the shipping container is used for many other things.  You know, people have become inspired and are actually building hotels based on the idea of the shipping container, where one container is a hotel room, and you just stack them.  They are prefabricated in factories, and they’re brought onsite, and then they are stacked.  And the bearing structure of the building is built into the container.  So you just need to put them on top of each other, and you get a building.  And then of course you can do a façade where you don’t see that it’s shipping containers.

Like I said before, I think it’s really important that the buildings we build like this are aesthetically pleasing because it is one of the major critiques; you know.  When people hear about standardization like this, and modules, they go, “Ah, but we tried that before.  Prefab has a bad reputation.  It’s low quality, and it’s ugly, and we have to avoid that.”  And it’s true that a lot of prefab has been built that was low quality and ugly.

But it’s also true that it doesn’t have to be like that.  Like I mentioned, actually both Gehry and Utzon, so both the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, are both prefab.  Not a lot of people think about that.  Like this is not what they think of.  When somebody says prefab, they don’t think Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.  But that’s a fact, you know, that they are prefab.  So that’s what we need.  We need prefab of that quality.  And then we need to build it where we don’t just use it for one building, we use it in many buildings so that we actually get the benefits of scale.

This is what the the construction industry is missing big-time, you know, that they don’t have economies of scale.  And that’s why construction remains so expensive, compared to solar cells and wind turbines where the costs are coming down very rapidly over time.  The more you build, the cheaper it gets.  And this is what we need to achieve in other areas, like for instance construction.

Advice from Bent

WENDY GROUNDS:  A lot of our project managers who listen to our podcast are relatively younger and early in their career.  What is some advice that you would give to them?

BENT FLYVBJERG:  So, I get this question all the time as a university professor because I get people at either the states where they are selecting a career – but actually more typically, since my students are more mature students, it’s more typically people who are mid-career, and then they want to make a really important step change.  So they’re the serious people who have decided I want to try to become one of those successful project leaders, and I want to take this seriously.  So, they go to Oxford or wherever they go for training; right?  And on average they are in their late 30s, early 40s.  So those are the kinds of students we are talking about here.

And my most important piece of advice is get into the right sector.  Make sure you get into the right sector, the right industry.  Don’t go into an industry that is a losing proposition.  So, I have had some very serious conversation with students that want to go into the oil and gas industry.  And I ask them, are you sure you want to do that; you know?  This is an elevator going down.  And of course the oil and gas industry doesn’t like me saying that.  But it’s a fact, you know, that it doesn’t have the upside that it used to have.  I mean, it’s been a wonderful sector to be in.  And, yeah.  So I can understand why people are attracted to it, and I can understand why people want to stay in it.

But the main problem of the oil and gas industry right now is actually to reorient itself towards renewables.  And luckily, you know, big oil and gas companies are doing that.  Some of the big oil companies are doing that.  And I have had students who actually joined big oil and gas with that as their mission.  They wanted to be part of that change.  So that’s the first thing; you know?  Make sure you get on an elevator that’s going up.  You want the wind in your back, not in your face, you know, in your career.  I think that’s pretty sound advice.  Why make life difficult for yourself, if you can avoid it?

And then maybe even more importantly, do something that you love.  It’s really important to choose with your hearts.  Make sure that you do something you love.  Students sometimes say that, well, I don’t know what I love.  And then I’m saying that’s your problem, and that’s what you need to focus on.  Don’t think about your career if you don’t know what you love.  Find out what you love first; you know.

You need to look inside yourself and think about what kind of person you are, what kind of things you resonate with, like think about your upbringing, what were the things and people that you really liked, what were the activities that you really like, what books did you read that were meaningful to you and so on, and then from that try to deduce what kind of people you should be hanging out with, what kind of activities you should be doing, and then try to fit that to the different industries.  I mean, there’s such a wide range of things that you can do that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find somebody that fits who you are and what you want to do.

The good thing about most people who want to work in project management is that they are practical people.  They want to change the world.  I like that about this area, these fields, that you meet people all the time that they are not bureaucrats.  They are not the people who just want to push paper.  They actually are very conscious, or typically a strong part of their identity, that they don’t want to do that.  And they’ve seen that because this is so common in most organizations.  Actually, unfortunately, in many organizations the people with the real power are the generalists, you know, that the people who are doing the admin and the people who want to actually do the hands-on stuff with projects are, you know they get paid less, and they have less power in the organization often.

Luckily that’s changing.  I mean we are working to sensitize organizations to this and making them understand that, if you want things done, you’ve got to reward the people that are doing things, and not the paper pushers.  And that’s beginning to happen in a lot of organizations that we work with.  So I like that about students that I encourage them.  I say be sure that you stick with this.  I mean, if the reason that you went into project management is that you like to do things and see things happen, stick with it.  Make sure you don’t become a general manager instead because that might be a recipe for unhappiness.  So, stuff like this is what I discuss with my students.

BILL YATES:  That’s so good.  Bent, you made me think about a conversation that we had with a project manager from the Ocean Cleanup Project.  And what drew him to that organization was he’s a surfer.  So, he’s spent so much of his free time in the ocean, loves to surf.  And then he’s a project manager.  And he had the opportunity to put those two together to combine passion and skill and work in a project that will make a difference.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  That’s fantastic.  I just met somebody back in Denmark who is inventing robots that will pick up the plastic in the oceans, on beaches and in the ocean.  So actually, developing using artificial intelligence and computer programming, machine learning, to develop robots, you know, like the vacuum cleaners that you can get for your house that just vacuums the house by themselves.  You just let these loose, and they will find the plastic and collect it so we get it off the beaches and out of the oceans.

And to me that’s, if you can find something like that, again, this is driven by a person like what you describe as somebody who’s really enthusiastic about this, and this is her mission.  This is what she wants to do.  And she finds a company that wants to back her, you know, and then – and that can get the tech and the AI and the software, to make it happen.  They already have a prototype.  So, that’s a big project also. I like things like that. 

Contact Bent

WENDY GROUNDS:  If our listeners want to get in touch with you, is there a way that they can do that?  Or just to find out more about what you do?

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Yeah.  So I’m on LinkedIn and X.  And I have a lot of people contacting me on LinkedIn all the time.  So just go to my LinkedIn page and drop me a line.

BILL YATES:  Bent, this has been an extraordinary conversation.  This has been a wonderful time for us to be able to pick your brain.  I’ve got to tell you, your book had such an impact on me.  And there are so many concepts that resonate with me.  I was incredibly excited about being able to ask you questions and have you voice some of these concepts and share the background, the research with our listeners.  So, thank you for – both for your research and for your willingness to share with the community and just help us all up our game.

BENT FLYVBJERG:  Like I said, it’s my pleasure, and thanks a lot for having me.  I really appreciate it.

Closing

WENDY GROUNDS:  That’s it for us here on Manage This.  Thank you for joining us today.  You can visit us at Velociteach.com, where you can subscribe to this podcast and see a complete transcript of the show.  You’ve also earned your free PDUs by listening to this podcast.  To claim them, go to Velociteach.com, choose Manage This Podcast from the top of the page.  Click the button that says Claim PDUs, and click through the steps.  Until next time, remember to stay curious, stay inspired and keep tuning in to Manage This.

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