Building the Future Today

With technology as the pivotal point, several industries have been affected by dramatic changes. Traditional value chains have been challenged, products and types of jobs have disappeared entirely and even illustrious enterprises like Nokia and Kodak have seen their business models fail because they did not succeed in adapting to the new reality in time. They were hit by what Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen was the first to call “disruptive innovation”.

Now time has come to the construction industry. And about time, too. The improvement potential is huge, and technologically, we are ready. If we are willing to break away from conventional industry practice, we can offer customers a wider range of options and more value for money, while at the same time increasing industry profitability and reducing the industry players’ exposure to risks and conflicts.

Goodbye to a trade – and welcome to a collaborative industry

The construction industry is known for low productivity. It is an industry characterised by mistrust where budget overruns, delays and defects have been taken for granted. At the same time, it is an industry divided into silos with a fragmented value chain where suppliers, architects, consultants, contractors and other players operate in relatively autonomous environments and engage in large-scale suboptimisations – to optimise their own profits in a notoriously small-margin industry.

I envisage a break away from these silos. With technology as the pivotal point, the Chinese walls between the players will be broken down to provide a new division of roles adding more value to and involving the customer. Instead of talking about a construction industry divided into silos, which in the conventional way of thinking consists of architects, consulting engineers and contractors, I wish to talk about a collaborative construction industry which also includes suppliers and professional customers.

By regarding the parties as a united whole working together towards a common goal, we can make quantum leaps towards productivity improvement. It requires an effort from all parties involved, and we need to break free of conventional thinking and demolish decades of traditions to build up new productive structures in the construction industry. With a professional market totalling DKK 175 billion each year in Denmark, the potential of making the industry more productive is huge. An improvement will benefit all parties and have a positive impact on our competitiveness and on our general welfare.

Download as pdf

Download as e-book