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We had an excellelnt Summit on the 17th November in Exeter

Please CLICK HERE to view or download the speaker presentations from the event

CESW CEO and CLC Construct Zero board member, Andrew Carpenter is the first comment in the industry response section in this PBC Today news about the COP26 highlights article below

 

COP26: Week two construction highlights

 

CESW CEO and CLC Board Member, Andrew Carpenter will be one of just four people representing the Contruction Sector at the C0P26 Climate Change Conference next week in Glasgow.

We are excited that he will be back fresh from the conference with all of the latest information to share with us at our Construction Summit in Exeter on the 17th November.

There will be a focus on three themes at the summit, Net Zero, The Building Safety Charter and The Value Toolkit

Please CLICK HERE for full details and info on our excellent line up of speakers. Sponsored by SWPA

As a delivery partner of the Workforce for the Future Programme, City of Bristol College are conducting research into the skills needs within the construction sector so they can pull together a free support package to help the industry to grow and recover.

Workforce for the Future is a European Social Fund (ESF) and West of England Combined Authority funded project which provides free support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing their staff, helping them to adapt to changes in the market and ensuring that they have the skills needed to grow and access new opportunities:

This online survey will provide helpful insight into the challenges currently being faced by the industry, help the College to align training provision to the needs of local SMEs and allow us to grow our free support to small businesses within the West of England.

Start the survey HERE

If you need any further details, the Project Manager for the WfTF programme is Charlotte Hopely: Charlotte.Hopley@WestofEngland-ca.gov.uk

Last month, Martyn Jones sought to define what we mean by innovation. This month he turns to the leadership and management of innovation processes.

The many challenges associated with innovation requires leaders and managers to combine resources in different business and organisational contexts that require different processes.

As shown in the above diagram, there are five broad types of contexts and processes that we can use to create, deliver and sustain innovation, each requiring different underlying management and – given the scale of the challenges we currently face – transformational leadership capabilities and behaviours.

Innovative organisations use most if not all of these types of processes in creative combinations. Let’s examine each in outline.

Research and development (R&D) processes: These processes use science, research, new technologies and organisational structures and behaviours as a stimulus to innovate. There’s currently much reliance on this approach to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic and climate change,  “We are following the science” is the often-repeated mantra by Government.

Key leadership/management capabilities and behaviours: Selecting and conducting R&D and technology projects and applying and sustaining the outcomes.

 

Market-facing processes: The processes in this category begin with understanding the nature of market demand and organising resources in response to exploit and indeed shape emerging market opportunities.

Key leadership/management capabilities and behaviours: Collecting, analysing and responding to information about markets, end users and clients, coupled with the capacity to make decisions on when to create and lead markets ahead of demand.  

 

Internal coupling: This is about connecting the resources within an organisation to support creativity and generate innovative outcomes.

Key leadership/management capabilities and behaviours: Fostering communication and collaboration between the various contributors to support the realisation of innovative outcomes is critical. Alongside this is the unleashing the abilities of people to combine their deep expertise in particular areas with the capacity to work collaboratively and creatively across disciplines and departmental boundaries.

 

External collaboration: The processes associated with this approach take us very much into Constructing Excellence territory and the role of strategic inter-organisational partnerships. The challenge for leaders and managers is to connect their organisation with external partners as they search for, choose and implement innovations. This may include links with universities and research institutes. The collaboration can be sought with other companies working in similar markets and technologies, or indeed different markets and technological fields, and brought together in various forms of operating system or groupings and business models,  An example is provided by the developing relationships between construction firms and sustainability experts,  the role of the Construction Innovation Hub and our own Innovation and Sustainability Theme Group.

Key leadership/management capabilities and behaviours: The ability to formulate, implement and sustain shared strategies for innovation through integration and collaboration between creative organisations.

 

Future-ready processes: These prepare organisations for the future by building awareness of, and responsiveness to emerging techno-economic-social paradigms.  This may involve a fundamental change in operating systems, business models, and regulations to exploit disruptive technologies and new forms of inter-organisational cooperation and competition.

Key leadership/management capabilities and behaviours: The management of less measurable intangibles, such as organisational culture and mindset, service orientation, entrepreneurial spirit, and the encouragement of experimentation, creativity and even playfulness.

 

CESW’s Thought Leadership Groups provide a fertile and supportive space for developing a better understanding of innovation and encouraging and supporting the underlying leadership and management that we need.  I’ve already mentioned our Innovation & Sustainability Group but there’s also the Clients’ Group, SMART Construction, Procurement & Productivity, Quality & Compliance, and Health & Wellbeing.  All representing areas of construction where innovations are very much needed if we are to deal with the array of challenges we face.

 

Was this the year that construction companies finally modernised and went digital?

Every organisation, regardless of sector, goods, or service, is now an information company and data owner. From relationships with stakeholders, supply chain and customers, to internal operations, digital technologies are changing how we do business and how our valuable data assets are processed, transmitted, and used.

Modernising business at the same rate as technology advances is no mean feat and not every digital solution is the right one. Options vary from bespoke vertical products and platforms to generic sales, service, and delivery tools. So, how do companies in the built environment get it right when customer delivery, health and safety, information security and operational resilience are held equally important, and the pressure is on to keep ahead of the competition?

In my experience, construction is led by the people rather than by the technology and hard hats and clipboards are consistently more available than connectivity and tech! Thus, many firms may need to tackle resistance to change before being able to explore and quantify the primary benefits of digital transformation. When decision makers do venture into digitisation programs the realisation comes quickly that every job function within every company becomes vulnerable to some manner of digital disruption. It is then the risk of change that gets the spotlight, rather than the productivity, profitability, and innovation improvements.

In Spring of 2021 Britain’s construction sector saw its fastest rate of growth since 2014. Despite the record lows in the preceding year and the challenges of material shortages, the sector has enjoyed solid annual growth and holds a prosperous commercial pipeline. One of the keys to this success was the contribution from firms able to rapidly deploy new ways of working. Those that got it right replaced traditional delivery methods with remote oversight and digital collaboration tools, all enabled by project management over integrated gigabit technology.

It is predicted that if the digital transformation trend continues, the construction sector could see a £3bn uplift by 2040.

Whilst there are some clear successes, few construction companies can demonstrably evidence they have captured the full benefits of the digital age, and many attempts to try scaling up have failed. Why is this?

Unfortunately, when going digital, buy-in is often assumed from stakeholders, making initial implementation challenging. Office workers can feel bombarded with the latest piece of hardware or software, and site workers are constantly asked to adopt new technologies with little communication, training or structure.

In addition, many construction projects are still planned on paper, which creates a further disconnect between site operations and office workers.

When you consider that the industry is quite fragmented by nature, with construction projects made up of many moving parts, from many different companies, it’s easy to see how even the most basic of attempts to digitalise can go awry. Multiple parties coming together for a single project, with different solutions and processes, then going their separate ways on completion.

Therefore, construction professionals struggle to align on process, tools, and digital skills.

How should construction companies approach their digital transformation plans?

Executives and managers should be able to clearly define and communicate how DT will create value and spend an equal amount of effort and resource on operational change, people’s behaviours and information security. Working digitally can create significant benefits but it also pushes information security right to the top of the resilience and risk assessment in terms of potential impact.

With many years construction industry experience and more recently the world of technology, my firm view is that digital transformation should only be undertaken with information security at the heart of the design.

Like every other sector, the construction and built environment industry is constantly evolving and embracing new technologies. In the Fourth industrial revolution companies are now relying on digital collaboration tools and standards, and the construction industry is no exception. Industry leaders and contractors are moving towards Construction 4.0. It is an evolving concept but, generally, it refers to the use of digital innovation within the industry – embracing digitisation and modern, smart technology to connect all aspects of a build so that work is completed more efficiently and effectively.

For example:

Offsite production – With offsite manufacturing and assembly, sections of prefabricated buildings are created in warehouses before being delivered to a construction site. This saves time and money and means that structures can spring to life much more quickly.

Digital technologies – Digital techniques such as building information modelling (BIM), digital scanning, cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming the ways new structures are planned and designed.

Improved connectivity means that 3D simulations and augmented or virtual reality (VR) allow people to view and test a building’s ‘digital twin’ before construction work begins. Data can be captured, analysed and stored ahead of a build, – speeding up processes and resulting in higher performance structures.

Cyber – Construction manufacturing is increasingly turning to sensors, robots, and drones, as they are often faster and more reliable than traditional methods.

The sector is also making greater use of the Internet of Things (IoT), employing software, sensors, and other technologies to transfer data with devices via the internet.

Construction 4.0 promises increased efficiencies, enhanced and optimised productivity. Not to mention savings of time and money through reductions of labour, material, and processing costs.

There are multiple barriers that keep companies from digital transformation, with some companies possibly in the slow lane while others are speeding ahead. Regardless of whether your proposition has a traditional basis, or a futuristic slant digital transformation is already helping to improve sector revenues and profits so if you haven’t already it may now be time to embrace the need for change.

Kevin Harris

Managing Director

Bamboo Technology Group Ltd

Industry Partners

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