Innovation in the construction industry

It is common belief that the construction industry is not a very innovative industry compared to other industries. Also within the construction industry this belief is widely accepted.

In my lectures about strategic management I always point out that there are far more innovations in the construction industry than what is traditionally seen as “innovations”. The reason for this phenomenon is that in the construction industry most innovations (new ideas that lead to improved products, services or processes) are only limited to specific type of projects. As there is a very wide array of project types in the construction sector (e.g. residential single homes, multifamily homes, single retail, shopping centres, office, industrial, healthcare, schools, prisons) not all the smart solutions that happen every day in construction projects are formally registered as innovations. Perhaps the industry should, to make more clear how innovative the construction sector really is.

In the Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building Conference Series, there is a great article on this topic by Martin Loosemore, called “Innovate or Perish? Exploring some of the Myths of Construction Innovation”. In my opinion he gives a good understanding of the Australian construction industry and the construction industry in general.

Norbert Bol

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