Martyn Jones - Thought for the Week



November 3rd 2019

Why wait for Godot?

Construction’s dominant operating system often results in overly complex contractual relationships which spawn opportunistic business models and give rise to a silo mentality.  Yet there are many examples (see Constructing Excellences’ extensive Demonstration Projects) of how more cross-boundary collaboration achieves greater customer loyalty and satisfaction and higher margins.

And looking to the future too, the emerging cluster of innovations associated with the new techno-economic paradigm will require more and more interdisciplinary collaboration. This will increase the demand for leaders and followers who can bridge silos and bring about and sustain change projects at the interfaces between individuals, organisations and new ideas.

One way to break down the silos inhibiting innovation in construction is to redesign our traditional, hierarchical and serial Operating System and its associated business models. But we all know from our experiences of the post-Egan era this more radical approach is likely to be resisted and therefore could be painfully slow.

So instead of waiting for Godot, why not identify activities that facilitate boundary crossing RIGHT NOW, in your current projects and supply chains? In Constructing Excellence we’ve demonstrated that people can learn to see and connect with pools of expertise in other parts of construction’s supply chains and to better understand individuals and organisations who think very differently from themselves. Instead of relying just on transformational change why don’t we operate more effectively at our interfaces by learning about people on the other side of the silo wall and relating to them.

But how do I start? Begin by asking the right open-ended questions that address preconceptions, such as: “How are things going at your point in the process?”What does your firm see as the key opportunity for improvement in this space?” And don’t forget to listen intently to the responses.

As collaboration develops, ask questions that focus on specific issues but allow people plenty of room to elaborate (another case for longer-term supply chain relationships spanning a number of construction projects). Take time to inquire into others’ experiences of the process and relationships. Ask, “How do you think the project is going?” “What could we do to work together more effectively?”

Yes, we all hear the current demands for transformational change and that’s good, but let’s do our bit to make a difference right now, and not just wait for Godot.  And, if you are looking for support, you can meet like-minded leaders and followers by joining CESW and participating in its events and its Thought Leadership Forums.

October 14th 2019

Be part of the movement for greater integration right here in the South West

Sam Stacey, Director for Transforming Construction at UK Research and Innovation says, “The main barrier to innovation in construction has been a lack of integration, so we are addressing that by:

· supporting value-based procurement

· developing digital configuration tools

· demonstrating the use of industrialised techniques across the value chain”.


If you are looking to play an active part in this movement for greater integration you can participate right here in the South West by joining Constructing Excellence South West’s Thought Leadership Forums:

Procurement and Productivity: Including value-based procurement

Digital and Offsite: Including digital configuration management and offsite manufacturing


October 2nd 2019

Is YOMP enough?

Last week we thought about the need to change our mindsets from NOMP (Not On My Project) to YOMP (Yes On My Project) if we are to innovate to improve construction project outcomes and transform our industry.

It has been suggested that although YOMP is very good it may not be proactive enough as we approach the next paradigm shift and that we should be aiming for POMP (PARTICULARLY On My Project).

If you would like to be part of the discussions and help lead the change why not join CESW and the Procurement & Productivity Thought Leadership Forum and become a YOMPER, or if you’re feeling particularly proactive, a POMPER?

  Leading YOMPING into POMPING  


September 23rd 2019

Turning NOMP into YOMP

Thought for the Week is back after a short summer break.

Let’s start by seeing how we’re doing with regard to Simon Rawlinson’s “one thing to take away” from our Annual Conference back in June (yes, now over 3 months ago). In setting out the barriers to innovation he placed NOMP at the top of his list. If you remember this stands for Not On My Project.

Simon reminded us that we often prevaricate: “Yes we have thought about innovating by using more offsite or BIM or whatever but not quite yet – and not on this project. Maybe for the next one?” But that of course could be 2 or 3 years into the future given the typical length of construction’s project cycles.

We all accept that to raise productivity and tackle all the other challenges we face we need to be more innovative and part of the solution, as advocated by members of the P&P Forum, is to change NOMP into YOMP (meaning, Yes On My Project).  If you would like to be part of the discussions and help lead the change why not join CESW and the P&P Thought Leadership Forum and become a YOMPER?


July 30th 2019

One-night stand or marriage?

According to Mignon McLaughlin, American author and journalist, “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."

Can this way of thinking be applied to your relationships with key construction suppliers? Or do you prefer one-night stands in which there is an expectation that there will be no further emotional commitment or future involvement?

If you are an infrequent buyer of construction products and services then it’s probably one-night stands for you but if you undertake construction work regularly and frequently why wouldn’t you find the right partner and commit to a marriage instead?

If you want to know more about building and sustaining longer-term, more collaborative relationships with your construction supply chain partners then join CESW’s Procurement and Productivity Forum.


July 16th 2019

Do your procurement strategies get you close to your supply chain?

Most people seem to agree that we need to get closer to our supply chains in order to deliver better project outcomes and that we do this by moving away from price competitive procurement approaches to ones based more on value

The Rider Levett Bucknall Procurement Trends Survey, Getting Close to Your Supply Chain, published this month, provides a useful snapshot of the progress we have made in shifting to more collaborative procurement strategies and supply chain engagement. The conclusions of the report, drawn from interviews with 51 key figures from across the supply chain, include:

Only 46% of projects in the private sector make explicit value selection criteria

30% of respondents prefer ‘design and dump’ approaches to D & B tenders with RIBA Stage 4 design

Only 27% of projects are provided with a BIM model at tender stage despite 70% industry wide adoption rates

14% is the average predicted increase in adoption rates of MMC over the next 3 years

Up to £7.5m and £30m-£60m are the sizes of projects most likely to accept single stage tenders


How are we doing in our region? The report suggests that here in the South West 34% use Single Stage, 28% Two Stage, 25% Frameworks and 12% Negotiated.
Alongside The North West and Yorkshire, we in the South West utilise Single Stage routes to market less frequently than the rest of the UK


Clearly there’s much more to be done if we are to get closer to our supply chains. 


June 7th 2019

Clearly there is much scope for construction to raise productivity through Clients, Designers and Constructors working more collaboratively in a culture of openness and transparency to understand and address the causes of low productivity. This is one of the objectives being pursued by the Procurement and Productivity Forum.


May 17th 2019

Do you find that in a lot of the conversations or meetings in construction we tend to shut down others' ideas? This doesn't help us to interact and collaborate effectively. Try using the "Yes, and..." rule, which is always to start from a point of acceptance, and then you add to it. The opposite approach is more common: "Yes, but...." or "No, but....".

Try "Yes, and....", which is what we aim for in our Thought Leadership Forums. You might be pleasantly surprised by the reaction it gets.

If you want to practice your "Yes, and...." technique why not join one of CESW's Thought Leadership Forums.

April 26th 2019

Are we viewing Digital too much through the prism of technology?

Well, members of CESW’s Procurement and Productivity Forum are thinking more in terms of how it can change our mind-sets, our operating system, our procurement approaches, our business models and ways of working.

We are focusing on how Digital thinking can help create new value at the frontiers of these new approaches; how we can generate value in the processes that execute the vison of our Clients and Other Stakeholders; how we can build new capabilities; and shape an Industry of opportunity.  

Now, how about sharing your thoughts on how we should use Digital to refocus our thinking on Procurement and Productivity with members of CESW’s Thought Leadership Forum. Not yet benefiting from being a member of CESW? Then join here by following this link.


April 23rd 2019

In the week that Sir David Attenborough issued his strongest statement yet on the threat posed to the world by climate change now must be the time for us to change the way in which we consume resources in construction and shift from a `take-make-dispose’ economy to a circular economy by:

· Designing out waste, pollution and carbon throughout the whole life cycle of our built environment

· Keeping products and materials in use

· Regenerating natural resources?


CESW’s Procurement and Productivity Forum is adopting a process-oriented approach to address how different decisions made in RIBA Plan of Work Stages 1 and 2 can help sustain our planet.


April 11th 2019

In our guide, Outcome Led Procurement: A common sense approach to construction procurement, we quoted Albert Einstein, who defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result". He also observed that "a person who never made a mistake never tried anything new".

Are you concerned about the outcomes of your construction projects? Have you thought about changing your approach?

Why not join CESW and our Procurement and Productivity Forum and learn about alternative procurement approaches that may well deliver better project outcomes.


April 4th 2019

Manufacturing has seen steady productivity growth over the last twenty years, allowing the sector to deliver more economic growth with the same or a fewer number of workers.

Conversely, the UK construction sector has seen productivity flat line during the same period, limiting growth and denying the UK more than £100bn a year of economic benefit.

Think about what could be done in your part of the design, manufacture and construct process to improve productivity.

Now, how about sharing your thoughts with other CESW members? Not yet a member? Then join here by following this link.

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