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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2021

Johnson Adafin, Suzanne Wilkinson, James O. B. Rotimi, Casimir MacGregor, John Tookey and Regan Potangaroa

This study aims to examine how innovation can be accelerated within the New Zealand (NZ) building industry to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine how innovation can be accelerated within the New Zealand (NZ) building industry to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The study adopted a mixed philosophical approach combining interpretivism and post-positivism. Data for the study were obtained through a focus group of 50 practitioners that were selected using a stratified sampling procedure. All focus group data were audio-recorded, notes of the discussions were taken and then transcribed, de-identified and managed using NVivo software. Data analysis was undertaken using thematic analysis and inductive reasoning consistent with interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Findings

The study findings revealed that the industry could benefit from the adoption of new and emerging technologies to improve its performance, especially its productivity and efficiency. Key drivers for the adoption of innovative practices included the adaptation of “local best practices” from case studies that would consist of stories of successful innovations that could foster confidence in future innovation. It was also identified that Government and industry should nurture innovation through collaborative contracts, policies and regulations. Further, it was highlighted that a culture of innovation needed to be developed to help nurture competencies and capability within the industry workforce.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides an in-depth examination of the need for innovation from the point of view of building industry practitioners. This study provides a useful starting-off point for further research and for the creation of policies that could help to support and accelerate innovation within the NZ building industry.

Practical implications

NZ’s building industry productivity and efficiency have been sub-optimal relative to other industries. But using evidence from the experiences and knowledge of industry practitioners, strategies can be developed to accelerate innovation within the NZ building industry that could help reverse industry performance. Further, the research findings can help inform government policies to develop support mechanisms that could encourage innovation in the industry in NZ. In addition, it is anticipated that the findings will provide a useful set of guidance for other countries that have similar market and physical constraints as those encountered by NZ.

Originality/value

There is a dearth of empirical studies on innovation in the NZ building industry which the current study contributes to. By sharing industry practitioners’ experiences and knowledge of innovation, the paper seeks to counteract more technocratic and technological optimist accounts of innovation within the building industry. Further, the paper provides insights into how the NZ building industry can transform its performance through innovation.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 29 March 2021

Rita Lavikka, Krishna Chauhan, Antti Peltokorpi and Olli Seppänen

Systemic innovations emerge and create value in an inter-organisational context. However, innovation studies rarely investigate the role of value creation and value…

Abstract

Purpose

Systemic innovations emerge and create value in an inter-organisational context. However, innovation studies rarely investigate the role of value creation and value capture among multiple organisations in successful innovation implementation. This paper aims to understand the role of value creation and value capture in the implementation of systemic innovations in construction which is by nature, an inter-organisational context.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical research focused on the barriers, enablers and opportunities for value creation and value capture of the Finnish construction project parties when trying to implement mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) prefabrication, which is a systemic innovation. Data were collected through interviews, observations and action workshops.

Findings

The empirical study identified interaction patterns on how social, political, technical and economic barriers lead to uneven value capturing, lack of value-based procurement and unclear value creation between MEP design and installation. They hinder the implementation of MEP prefabrication. The results point to enablers leading to fairly shared value to all parties, procurement of value and collaborative value creation, thus increasing the usage of MEP prefabrication, a systemic innovation.

Originality/value

The study adds new knowledge by demonstrating that the identification of barriers and their interaction with enablers and opportunities for value creation and capture lay a baseline for suggestions on how to implement a systemic innovation. This study stresses the importance of enabling value creation and capture for all construction project parties when implementing a systemic innovation.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 1 May 2019

Pernilla Gluch, Anna Kadefors and Kamilla Kohn Rådberg

The aim of this research is to increase the understanding of how strategic and long-term innovation efforts can be organised, operated and co-created within a…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this research is to increase the understanding of how strategic and long-term innovation efforts can be organised, operated and co-created within a project-based organisational setting.

Design/Methodology/Approach

A case study with a qualitative approach was chosen, showing a critical case with powerful examples rather than representative samples, to draw conclusions from. The analysis builds on the concept of absorptive capacity, which provides a multidimensional perspective on innovation activities in organisations.

Findings

The difficulties in orchestrating an interplay between innovation processes and the construction process in itself is presented. The study identifies effects from introducing new “innovation roles” as well as comprehending implications of collaborative contract forms for innovation.

Research Limitations/Implications

Based on a single case study, and being an in-depth empirical study, a rich description of innovation processes is provided which contributes to generalisation on processes rather than outcomes. The use of the absorptive capacity construct also contributes to a theoretically informed research on innovation in construction.

Practical Implications

The study provides valuable insights regarding how to conduct collaborative innovation in within the frame of construction projects.

Originality/Value

The study of a novel organisational setup, where multiple innovation processes is integrated in a construction project with a partnering contract, provides an understanding on how a construction client can manage the interplay between innovation processes and the construction process in itself. Furthermore, flows of knowledge and effects from introducing new innovation roles are unfolded.

Details

10th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-051-1

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Article
Publication date: 24 August 2020

Stephen Akunyumu, Frank D.K. Fugar, Emmanuel Adinyira and James Cofie Danku

There is an urgent need for the construction industry to improve its current performance to increase productivity and satisfy the complex and varying needs of project…

Abstract

Purpose

There is an urgent need for the construction industry to improve its current performance to increase productivity and satisfy the complex and varying needs of project clients. To be successful, construction companies must innovate. Unfortunately, the extant literature has revealed some inertia towards innovation which in several cases is because of lack of the organisational readiness required to embrace innovation. Various models for assessing organisational readiness are proposed in the literature. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to determine the applicability of existing models for assessing the readiness of construction organisations to innovate.

Design/methodology/approach

A desk study of the extant literature was conducted to identify perspectives of readiness assessment and, based on a comparative framework, a set of readiness assessment models identified was examined to ascertain their perspectives on organisational readiness assessment.

Findings

Five models/tools of organisational readiness assessments were identified and compared based on a set of identified criteria. The comparative analysis revealed that three of the models can be used to assess the readiness of construction organisations to innovate, albeit with varied scopes of modification.

Practical implications

The paper presents an overview of readiness assessment perspectives developed through models that could help organisations in selecting the most appropriate tool to assess their readiness.

Originality/value

The paper uses a comparative framework as a basis for analysing the identified models. It further discusses the strengths and weaknesses inherent in each model noting critical areas of omission.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 2 December 2019

Natalya Sergeeva and Naomi Liu

The purpose of this paper is to re-visit social construction of technology (SCOT) framework in understanding of innovation in the construction sector and unpack the role…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to re-visit social construction of technology (SCOT) framework in understanding of innovation in the construction sector and unpack the role of innovation brokers in this context.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper adopting SCOT framework to understand innovation in the context of the construction sector. The role of innovation brokers is unpacked in the paper, currently under-explored in the construction innovation studies.

Findings

The authors suggest SCOT framework as a useful overarching frame through which to understand construction innovation. The authors argue that innovation brokers should be positioned to oversee the interface of multiple social groups.

Research limitations/implications

Further empirical research is proposed to test the theoretical assumptions outlined in the paper. The research agenda is to conduct further empirical research adopting a socio-technical theoretical lens and appropriate qualitative or mixed-design methodologies. There are other socio-technical theoretical frameworks that could be used to explore socio-technical interactions in different ways, e.g. socio-technical systems theory, sociomateriality, actor-network theory, etc.

Practical implications

Three propositions are developed regarding the position of an innovation broker from the perspectives of multi-social-groups interfaces, shifting significance of the roles of innovation broker and the collaboration with government.

Originality/value

The authors outline the value of SCOT framework for innovation study within project-based construction sector. The authors contribute to better understanding of the role of innovation brokers in the system of construction innovation.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 6 February 2020

Bart Lenderink, Johannes I.M. Halman, Hans Boes and Hans Voordijk

Stimulating innovation in projects can contribute to achieving policy goals, addressing societal challenges and meeting objectives within programs and projects. Despite…

Abstract

Purpose

Stimulating innovation in projects can contribute to achieving policy goals, addressing societal challenges and meeting objectives within programs and projects. Despite their potential, innovations are rarely included in tender assignments and evaluated in the award of civil engineering projects. One explanation for this is the perceived difficulty in triggering and objectively assessing innovations in the awarding of projects. The aim of this paper is to develop, implement and evaluated a method to encourage and assess innovations in the awarding of bridge construction projects to address this problem.

Design/methodology/approach

A design science research (DSR) approach is used to develop, implement and evaluate a method to trigger and assess innovations in tenders for bridge projects. DSR approaches are used to develop “well-tested, well-understood and well documented innovative generic designs, dealing with authentic field problems or opportunities” (van Aken et al., 2016).

Findings

The findings show that the application of the developed method in a bridge project led to the inclusion of a broad range of innovations in the tender offers. Despite the broad support for the defined criteria, there were some differences in the way the criteria were interpreted by the public procurement team and by the tenderers. Despite these differences, no legal claims were filed in court.

Practical implications

Further development and wider adoption of the method is likely to have a positive impact on the application of innovations in bridge projects. With some adjustments, the method would also be appropriate for other civil engineering and construction projects.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the discussion on how the terms innovation and innovativeness can be operationalized and used in the literature and practice. The developed method provides definitions for assessing the degree as well as the level of innovations in tenders for bridge projects. Further, it provides a way to rank innovations and determine the additional value of the offered innovations in terms of a notional reduction in tender price. Finally, it provides insights into how to encourage innovations through public procurement in civil engineering projects.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 28 April 2020

Rita Lavikka, Olli Seppänen, Antti Peltokorpi and Joonas Lehtovaara

University research efforts have not been effective in developing lasting impacts on operations management in construction because of inadequate coordination between…

Abstract

Purpose

University research efforts have not been effective in developing lasting impacts on operations management in construction because of inadequate coordination between academia and industry. This study aims to describe the development of an industry–university (IU) relationship which has enabled the conduct of practically and scientifically relevant research.

Design/methodology/approach

Design science research was carried out between 2016 and 2019 to build a consortium between a university and 17 design, construction, technology and logistics companies for enabling process innovations in construction. The consortium conducted industry-funded research on various topics, such as takt production, lean design management, prefabrication, measurement of waste and business models supported by digitalisation. The academic and practical impacts of the consortium’s research projects were investigated through a survey and in-depth company interviews.

Findings

The paper presents a conceptual model for creating an IU relationship to support scientifically and practically relevant research. The model includes network architects who mobilised consortium development and a joint governance body that developed a shared long-term vision and selected research topics based on this vision. The results show that using the model’s approach, the consortium selected research topics that have led to both academic publications and process innovations in construction.

Originality/value

Using empirical data, this study describes how to create a win-win IU innovation relationship that enables the implementation of process innovations into the construction sector and, at the same time, the conduct of scientific research in construction management.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2019

Timothy Rose, Karen Manley and Kristian Widen

The purpose of this study is to examine product innovation as a means of addressing infrastructure shortages in developed economies and to improve the sustainability of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine product innovation as a means of addressing infrastructure shortages in developed economies and to improve the sustainability of infrastructure. The obstacles to product innovation in the road industry are compared between different types of participants in the supply chain to provide guidelines for interventions to improve innovation rates.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study uses descriptive data from a large scale survey of the Australian road industry. The three top-rated product innovation obstacles for the following four types of participants are examined: contractors, consultants, suppliers and clients.

Findings

The four groups were found to disagree about the relative importance of the obstacles. Contractors and suppliers ranked “restrictive price-only tender assessment” used by clients as their number one obstacle, while consultants thought there was too much emphasis by the clients on direct costs compared with whole-of-life costs. On the other hand, clients felt suppliers do not do enough thorough testing prior to proposing a new product and disagreed with suppliers about who should carry the risk of new product failure.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptual framework was found to yield novel insights with significant policy implications. The construction-specific contextual determinants that were integrated by the authors into a broad innovation diffusion process proved useful in categorising road product innovation obstacles across the four surveyed supply chain groups – without overlap or omission. The new framework also proved useful in ordering the key obstacles across groups for interpretation and discussion. In disaggregating product obstacles according to groups, these contextual determinants were proven to be mutually exclusive and to represent important focal points in promoting the uptake of product innovation in construction. Although the current study has usefully provided quantitative data concerning construction innovation obstacles, there are limitations due to its reliance on descriptive statistics. Future work by the authors is proposed to analyse the relationships between innovation obstacles and supply chain partners using inferential statistics to further develop and validate these early findings. The current study is an interim step in this work and an important contribution in identifying and addressing firm-level barriers seen to be constraining construction product innovation.

Practical implications

Results suggest there is a need for government clients to carefully consider the differing perspectives across the supply chain when developing strategies to encourage the adoption of mutually-beneficial innovative products on their construction projects. Inclusive focus groups examining the drivers, configuration and benefits of collaborative procurement systems are recommended to reduce innovation obstacles.

Social implications

Society relies on urban infrastructure for daily living and the current study contributes to stretching infrastructure investment dollars and reducing the environmental impact of infrastructure provision.

Originality/value

No previous study has compared the perception of product innovation obstacles across different road industry supply chain partners. This is a significant gap, as differences in opinions across the supply chain need to be understood to develop the shared expectations and the improved relationships required to improve product innovation rates. Product innovation is important because it has been shown to improve efficiency (potentially addressing the road investment gap) and reduce deleterious environmental impacts.

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Article
Publication date: 5 December 2016

Soroush Maghsoudi, Colin Duffield and David Wilson

This paper aims to develop a practical tool to evaluate the outcomes of innovative practices in the building and construction industry.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to develop a practical tool to evaluate the outcomes of innovative practices in the building and construction industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A practical tool was proposed. It is an online tool programmed in a JavaScript environment. A previously developed and tested framework was the basis for this tool. Six case projects were used to test and validate the reliability of the tool. The outcomes of the building projects were categorized into six categories of economic, quality, social, environmental, satisfaction and soft and organizational impacts.

Findings

The most important finding of this research was that the evaluation of innovation in building and construction would be possible only if the subjective assessment is tolerated to include the non-monetary outcomes in the evaluation, as well as the monetary outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this research are limited to the domestic and medium density building projects; thus, the outcomes might be generalized with appropriate care. The developed tool would assist practitioners in the field of building and construction to realize the impacts of innovation introduced into their projects. The project owners and developers could be the main audience of this tool.

Practical implications

The main contribution of the current study into the literature is the consideration of tangible and intangible outcomes of innovation together. In other words, this tool not only evaluates monetary outcomes but also takes into account non-monetary outcomes. It has been stated in the literature that 80 per cent of firms choose “non-numeric” project selection models (Meredith and Mantel, 2006). To provide a full representation of the reality, this model considers both numeric and non-numeric measures by applying both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods. The project owners and developers could be the main audience of this tool. It is worth mentioning that this tool is the first attempt of its kind for building and construction projects, and it is applicable and fully practical.

Originality/value

This tool is the first attempt of its kind to evaluate practically the outcomes of innovation in the building and construction industry. The tool practicality and applicability in the real-world project is a privilege which gives more reliability and credibility to the proposed approach of innovation evaluation.

Details

International Journal of Innovation Science, vol. 8 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-2223

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Article
Publication date: 21 March 2016

Jacquetta Shelton, Igor Martek and Chuan Chen

The users of construction technologies such as builders and trades people have been acknowledged as sources of potentially important innovations. These innovations may be…

Abstract

Purpose

The users of construction technologies such as builders and trades people have been acknowledged as sources of potentially important innovations. These innovations may be in the form of safer, less labour intensive, or cheaper methods and processes. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether the Australian construction industry is providing an environment where user-based innovation is being supported and implemented.

Design/methodology/approach

An explorative study was undertaken to provide an insight into actual experiences of the implementation of user-based innovation. The data were collected through face-to-face semi-structured interviews providing case studies on multiple aspects of the implementation of innovative construction technologies. The cases involved a cross section of advances, including product, tool, and system technologies.

Findings

The main motivation behind developing the technologies was problem solving. The associated industries of manufacturing and retail, as well as consultants within the construction industry present the greatest barriers to implementation.

Originality/value

This research provides a better understanding of the factors that are preventing the successful implementation of user-based innovative construction technologies in small firms.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

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