Opinion, Projects

Reclaiming innovation – moving beyond high-tech

In today’s ever-evolving world that is constantly fascinated with leading-edge technology—artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, drones, predictive analytics and machine learning, to name a few—it often feels like the term innovation is only applied to perceived moonshot products that promise to disrupt the world as we know it.

Business magazines dot their covers with only the most high-tech “innovations,” with celebrity entrepreneurs arguing that not only is their service or product the next great invention, but that the personal lifestyle credo that they practiced to create it is the playbook for individual success and fulfilment.

This is the world that has captured and lay claim to the term innovation. This world, however, is incomplete. It doesn’t entirely represent the full scope of real innovative construction solutions occurring in each and every industry—especially in construction, which is seeing a far more significant innovation trendline that, more often than not, doesn’t involve the latest and greatest high-tech product.

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Some of the most valuable innovative construction solutions happening in the industry may be initially viewed as low-tech. These simple processes or workflows are having just as much impact—if not more—than the high-tech innovations that are more likely to grab headlines and attention.

These forms of disruptive innovation in construction could be a better tool or piece of safety equipment, a simple change in management style or work site job allocation that leads to a boost in productivity, safety or risk management.

Oftentimes, real innovation in the construction industry happens in the trenches, deep within the dirt. It isn’t always clean, pristine and flashy; it’s manual, process-oriented and driven by intense collaboration and planning among human beings whose experience in the industry stretches back generations.

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