Last week we attended the Aconex Construction Technology Summit 2016 in Melbourne. We went with our construction technology partners Acuite and enjoyed 2 days of panel discussions, trade events and guest speakers while connecting with leading Australian construction firms, developers and technology innovators. The kiwi contingent was strong as we encountered many New Zealanders now working across the ditch in both the construction and construction technology industry.
The big topic of the summit was the digital tipping point that the construction industry has reached as companies in this traditionally paper based sector are ready to embrace the efficiencies and transparency that technology can provide. There was much discussion, both formal and informal, about how this will play out and how best construction companies can take advantage of technology solutions. Our top 4 takeaways from the summit on this topic are:
- Understand what you are changing and why. The benefits from changing "the way things have always been done around here" need to be clearly mapped and understood. The rationale and gains for employees, whether it is saving them time or reducing risks for them, needs to clearly articulated - always think WIIFM (whats in it for me) when taking people on the change journey.
- Change Management is crucial. Bringing technological devices and processes to the building site requires a careful implementation strategy that takes into account how familiar the users are with the digital world. Using both top down and bottom up approaches will help to get more people on board with the change.
- Drive a culture of accountability. As construction firms head more into the digital space it will make project KPIs and deliverables more transparent and require increased accountability from project teams. It is important that the company culture values and rewards this accountability.
- Walk the talk. Changing to new ways of working is hard - our brains like to take the easy option which is the familiar option. To implement technological change and reinforce a culture of accountability the company leadership needs to all be on board with the change and seen to be walking the talk.
It is an exciting time to be part of the construction industry as digital innovators bring a whole new perspective on how to run and report on projects - we look forward to sharing more of our journey with you.