Conference Paper | 2003

Follow the Money: What Really Drives Technology Innovation in Construction

by John D. Macomber

Abstract

Technology enthusiasts, academics, and software companies remain concerned about the slow pace of innovation in the construction industry. Tools are widely available that seem to provide eminently sensible and clearly apparent improvement to the process of design and construction of buildings and facilities. Why aren't they used? Because the monetary implications are not well considered. This paper explores the real business motivations of the construction and design firms who take on risk and reap reward in technology adoption. If they are motivated by enlightened economic self interest, it's clear why innovation is slow. Interested observers who wish to direct their work to the relevant issues can benefit from considering why and how the economic value of innovations actually flows through the system. Several financial models are proposed for representing those impacts. Innovation will come from other sources following disruptive business models. Four major methodologies promise true innovation—supply chain optimization, knowledge management, 3D design, and wrap-up economic models. These are likely to be adopted by new innovators and not by established firms.

Keywords: Buildings and Facilities; Technological Innovation; Construction; Design; Performance Improvement; Motivation and Incentives; Knowledge Management; Adoption; Business Model; Capital Structure; Supply Chain;

Citation:

Macomber, John D. "Follow the Money: What Really Drives Technology Innovation in Construction." Paper presented at the American Society of Civil Engineers, 2003.