Company leaders sometimes struggle with making time to innovate and improve processes. Many times, the answer involves cost – time and money. When you are trying to decide if you can afford to innovate, consider whether you can afford to not innovate. Maybe new thinking is required for solving traditional problems inside an organization.

Most everyone in the construction industry knows there are things that can improve. But to achieve change, you will need to work with the human factor – explaining to people why it is important to innovate and gradually getting their buy-in for the changes you want to achieve. At the same time, it will be part of the sales process to explain to owners why they can trust your company to use innovative workflows.

Inside your company, it is helpful to encourage building information modeling (BIM)-type skillsets on your project teams. While you are striving to keep your team lean, you can slowly be building a group of workers who are specialists at some aspect of BIM.

The result might be that you build a virtual design and construction (VDC) strategy that serves two purposes – moving your company forward in innovation, while developing career paths that will keep your employees interested and invested in your company’s growth.

If your business is a sole proprietorship, or if you have a smaller firm, you may be hesitant to develop a technology strategy. After all, it is difficult to strategize your processes when you are the last in line on a project. Builders have always been at the mercy of what their customers want, right down to project standards.

However, you may need to face the creation of that strategy in order to remain competitive, not only for jobs but for employees.

The market demand for efficiency and sustainability in projects is an incentive for companies to develop a tech strategy. In addition, innovation has been shown to keep employees excited.

It is more cost effective to retain the employees you have, rather than having to replace them when they leave for more exciting opportunities. Construction employee resumes are changing, and skillsets are evolving. As you grow your company’s innovative processes, you should identify the types of skills you are looking for.

A little research will indicate what skillsets are applicable to your business. They might include programming, reality capture, computational design. If you are not ready to hire for these skillsets, you can contract them out.

Once you embark on your technology plan, you will have the opportunity to educate customers about the true value of innovative new processes. As you learn about the efficiencies of working in a model, for instance, you can help your customers and prospects understand them as well.

Many feel that the project model will become the contract document of the future. Since it is likely most companies will eventually adopt this way of doing business, you have the opportunity to join them, and educating your customers and your employees is a good start.

Tune in to season 4, episode 8 of The AEC Disruptors Podcast to learn more about making time to improve your processes.

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