Engineering consulting has been slow adapters in taking advantage of the many gifts embedded in the Internet. In many respects we are still in love with the intimate, cohesive, and somewhat linear consumption of ideas and information embedded in the paper world. Our ideas, thoughts, and abilities to communicate with clients and key stakeholders is still tied to the world of paper. If we do venture digitally, it is usually with what we were comfortable with in the world of paper - - the 8 1/2 by 11 idea placed in PowerPoint. We have low digital sensibility as a profession and industry in a world where high digital sensibility shapes almost every social and economic activity.
Check out The New York Times Upshot column on Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.? This is a good example of the new age of fully utilizing the power of the Internet to present and discuss information, ideas, and solutions. It is the unique blend of content, design, and technology that engineering consulting has yet to master. Study the new media news sites of Vox, Wonkblog, The Upshot, the Texas Tribune. They have done excellent work building the new Internet-based "information exchanges" - - places where information is combined, connected, and constructed that produces increased value.
Engineering consulting needs to improve their digital sensibility to stay competitive in an Internet world increasingly geared toward the communication of ideas in new, exciting, and value-added ways. Our infrastructure is in decline - - gets take advantage of the gifts the Internet gives us to better explain this to our clients, policy makers, and key stakeholders.