A puppy isn’t just for Christmas. Long-term value.

Peter van Manen and Mark Stevens advocate paying attention to what's important, not just what can be measured.

Someone is sitting in the shade today because somebody planted a tree a long time ago.

Warren Buffett

Digital Twins are great when they look forward, beyond decisions and interventions made today or tomorrow. Profitability, productivity and environmental impact can all be explored. But the underpinning influences change over quite different time periods:

►  Finance is measured in years and quarters, with cash as an important metric

►  Technology matures over years and decades, then quickly transforms society

►  Environment changes over decades and centuries, slowly and surely.

Coping with these different time horizons is hard. And value comes in different forms. The economy, society and environment are all affected. It is important to pay attention to what is important, not just what can be measured. Even so, it does often circle back to money. One way or another. Someone, sometime, and somehow has to pay for the Digital Twin! 

Speaking of money, there are two key ways in which a digital twin can deliver value. Unlocking new revenue opportunities and avoiding cost. The revenue opportunities can come from running things harder, longer or differently, with a better understanding of the limits of safety and reliability. Avoiding cost can come from cutting down on the waste of time and materials, by reducing the uncertainty of actions and outcomes. And so on. Digital Twins give you a safe way of trying out new policies and interventions, and putting these into practice when they start showing promise. And revealing the value in what happens next. 

But each of us values things differently. This further complicates matters when groups of people gather to consider options for change. We see the things we expect to see, rather than the full picture. The Digital Twin is a great way of sharing and evaluating the balance of short and longer term value that is unlocked following change. It provides context to the sometimes confusing and conflicting sources of information. 

We can start seeing the wood for the trees.

Dog in the shade of a tree

Read the previous blog in this series, 'Trusted friends. Assurance, authority and agency' here, and the next episode 'Greeks bearing gifts. Giving context' here. Catch up with all the available blogs in our Digital Twin series here.

Peter van Manen, Mark Stevens

(C) Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd, 2021

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