"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce
Timing is everything! When is the right time to innovate? When is the wrong time? There is a fine line between the success and failure of innovation within the AEC/O industry. Failure is beneficial to individuals, companies, and industries. It is how limits are identified, how ideas grow, and how we teach others. Almost all innovation comes with failure. The industry should accept and embrace this fact. This year, we hear from Visionaries about their experiences with innovations that did not quite make it to the success side
As Henry Ford put it, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
A vision for the future of the AEC industry and the role of the Construction Institute.
I want to share with you a vision for the future of the industry and the role of the Construction
Our industry was poised for change before the pandemic. Then the pandemic changed
everything. Jobs stopped. Supply chains were interrupted. The price of critical materials soared.
Work protocols changed dramatically, in both the field and the office. Circumstances forced us
to change the way we work. Even people who were averse to technology began to use it in ways
they never imagined they would.
What the pandemic created was a sense of urgency for change. And the industry stepped up.
You all stepped up.
The Institute HAS EXPERIENCED a year of re-creation, adaptation, and expansion. We
recreated ourselves as an independent 501(c)(3). We moved our offices to East Hartford. Our
certificate programs, already fully online before the pandemic, attracted students from across the
US - from Arizona to Wisconsin, to Hawaii. We taught leadership classes to 60 employees at a
large infrastructure construction company in Texas. At the beginning of the pandemic, we
created a series of free online webinars as a service to our members. We created our own online
platform to deliver the AEC Leadership Conference and redesigned the Women Who Build
Summit to a series, creating our virtual Pathway to the next Summit. The virtual world enabled
us to get a glimpse into Intel's successful construction management systems and learn about
building on Mars by including Visionaries from Seattle and California. We've covered topics
from economic development in Fairfield County to managing teams in tough time to blockchain.
And we've had fun. We held a safe in-person golf event last October and a virtual wine-tasting in
January. The virtual networking platform for May’s Women Who Build session allowed
participants to relax and talk on a virtual beach. Our programs and webinars have engaged
attendees from across the country and around the world - the UK, Australia, Sweden, and Turkey
to name a few. We have gained members across the country. We have Board members from
other regions. We have continued to publish 2 educational articles each month, written by our
member companies and our editorial team and published by our media sponsors.
When I use the word "we", I include all of us - our strong Board and Executive Committee, our
advisors, our members who volunteer as organizers, as instructors, as program designers, as
writers. We could not have achieved this success without our collaborators - fellow organizations
in the industry, like the AIA, ABC, the Connecticut Concrete Promotion Council, The
Connecticut Green Building Council and the Construction Users Round Table, to name a few. If
I acknowledged those in this room who contributed, I would likely call on everyone. Every
activity we engage in promotes our members and their expertise while working to educate and to
move the industry forward.
You are leaders in your organizations and leaders in the industry and you represent every aspect
of the industry. I know what draws you to the Institute is its mission - to promote cross-industry
collaboration. The Construction Institute is 45 years old. We all know that improved
collaboration translates not only into projects that improve cost-effectiveness and timeliness but
also produce better buildings - better schools and hospitals, better bridges. So, we have to ask
ourselves - why aren't we there yet? I think the best way to characterize the issues the plague the industry is bad habits.
What the pandemic showed us is how quickly the industry can adapt. What we need to do is to
capture that sense of urgency, that need for change, and that eliminating waste and disputes, will
allow us to build more, to build better, build sustainably and to have a richer experience. This is
the year to move the needle forward, while companies are still in the "change" mindset, while
they need to improve processes to survive, and before increased workflows allow them to fall
back into familiar bad habits. I invite you to take the time to get involved with our projects and
help us map the path forward!
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