Innovate, Innovate, Innovate

The UK Government has got the message out there in recent weeks that we need to Build, Build, Build.

In the construction sector, a large UK employer with approximately 3.5 million employed directly/indirectly, we are seeing large and specific government support and infrastructure investments in line with the governments message. Sector news has illustrated that construction is ‘back on the road’ and up and running for the second half of 2020.

In getting back to work in construction, this is a one-time opportunity to improve the industry for the better and re-build a stronger, more modern sector that is truly fit for the 21st century!
This is a sector that has been slow and resistant to transform, suffering historically, from poor productivity and reliance on workers to deliver projects with slow and fractured processes.
New ways of working, cultural change and product advancement are all feasible (1) and would take the sector forward. Is ‘Build, Build, Build’ (2) enough, should we really be saying ‘Innovate, Innovate, Innovate’?

This is the chance to change working processes and to go digital. Those that seize this opportunity now can change the way they operate and emerge stronger.

Technology can get construction back to work better and safer. It can also change the way it works beyond that – more reliable, more productive, higher quality, reduced re-work, more efficient, better able to collaborate and partner and less reliant on human intervention to ‘make it happen’.

New, innovative ways of working, fit well in a post covid-19 world. We are already seeing higher levels of offsite construction and this is only likely to grow with demand from developers. Those with higher capabilities will do well as they can deliver more quickly and to higher quality standards. As well as this, they can reduce the risks that come from more significant on-site activity.

Technology and a new mindset is also a chance to think in terms of processes in the sector. Rather than a reliance on planning and Gantt charts, the future can be process and innovation-based. Use this innovation window to diversify the workforce and bring in new ideas from new minds. Those from outside of the sector will bring more diversity to enable a fast tracking of new approaches and ways of thinking.

Next Steps:
Rather than basing your return on what you did before, with a covid-19 overlap, think more strategically and look at innovation opportunities. Don’t forget to engage your business in the plan and set strong governance and benefits tracking to demonstrate tangibly to employees and investors the value of innovation for the construction sector.
Set your innovation agenda, double your targets and shorten the timelines – this is the chance to make it happen and to get ahead of competitors while they focus on the day to day.

For more information about innovation in the construction sector, please contact Huw Jones huwj@ninefeettall.com

Refs:
(1) https://www.ft.com/content/b2c66180-4f2d-11ea-95a0-43d18ec715f5
(2) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-53231793/coronavirus-pm-says-britain-must-build-build-build

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