World Economic Forum's Construction Innovation Initiative

WEF (World Economic Forum) has a Future of Construction Initiative. The effort by WEF is supported by BCG (Boston Consulting Group) which is a competitor of McKinsey who I mentioned in this post.

The WEF has of course economic data.

As an industry, moreover, it accounts for 6% of global GDP. It is also the largest global consumer of raw materials, and constructed objects account for 25-40% of the world’s total carbon emissions.

There are a long list of people contributing to the effort. here is one page.

So is this the answer to changing the construction industry? I think the effort is helpful, but not the answer.

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What is the Incentive for Construction Industry to make changes?

McKinsey has a report they published in Feb 2017 on reinventing construction. CNBC has a youtube video on the power of McKinsey.

McKinsey points out the challenge.

For their part, contractors and specialized trades may stand to lose from a move to a more efficient system in which many of them win orders by optimizing up-front pricing and then making up for lost surplus via change orders and claims, or where nonstandard or costly specifications can mean higher revenue rather than lower margins. Currently, many contractors are more focused on maintaining those margins than measuring and improving productivity.

There are 7 areas for the solution. But are these the way to change construction or are these changes that will be observed as construction changes.

Being more efficient, saving money is not an incentive to change that is powerful enough.

So what is the incentives for getting construction to change? Most know they are stuck and not making progress they should.

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Can data driven construction transform like baseball?

Moneyball is a famous story of how data changed how players were selected for team. Axios reports on how data driven hitting has transformed hitting coaching.

Some numbers to get your attention.

By the numbers: 19 of MLB's 30 hitting coaches played less than 100 big league games, 13 never played in the majors and four never even played in the minors.

The WSJ is a source referenced for the Axios article and they close with

A few decades ago, general managers were mostly former major-league players. They’ve been replaced by a new breed of executives, those with résumés seemingly more cut out for corporate America than professional sports.

This is the next wave of that trend: giving outsiders a uniform and making them coaches.

“More GMs are more open-minded,” Luhnow said, “because a lot of GMs don’t have a traditional background themselves.”

As these data driven tools get used more how long is it before the same is applied to construction? Many construction workers are ex-athletes, and the new construction workers are being exposed to these data tools.

Home Court is another data driven tool for basketball training.

Remembering another great one, John Medica

I was chatting with an old Apple friend. How old? We worked together over 30 years ago. Catching up he said he heard that John Medica had passed away.

I found a Remembrance here at Wake Forest University site.

“John’s zest for life was contagious,” reflected Don Flow (MBA ’83), a fellow classmate and University Trustee. “His boisterous laugh brought joy to anyone in his presence and his kind and generous thoughtfulness was a profound expression of how much he cared for all of the people in his life.”

Another more personal post is here.

It sounds like a cliché, but when God conjured up John, he broke the mold. I mean this in the most literal sense possible. He was larger than life in every way that accentuates the few special folks we intersect with throughout our lives who actually make a difference.

Upon reflection, what I remember most about John is not his accomplishments in the technology space at Dell (which were enormous), but the plaintive fact is that he was just a kind and good person. Full stop. When you met John, you instantly wanted to be his friend and you wanted to hang around with him.

I was lucky to work with John when he was Apple as the project leader for the Mac II, taking numerous trips to Japan and Hong Kong with him and the other analog team members who worked on power supplies and monitors. I was amazed that John would go with us so often, but he knew those analog devices had to get done to ship the Mac II.

John’s signature as Project Champion on the Apple IIGS is on this certificate at upper left. First person to sign. After Woz.

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When John went to Dell and I was at Microsoft I would keep in touch with John and sometimes visit him when he was working in Dell Japan and I had trips to Japan visiting the MSKK office.

Working at Apple Sheila Brady and John Medica were two people who I learned so much on how to run a large project.

John was so passionate about his work, and he deserved a long retirement after all his hard work. It is so sad that at 59 he left us on Oct 13, 2017. Sorry I missed the news of his passing.