Last edited 20 Jun 2017

Innovation in engineering and construction, a sleeping sector awakens in Davos


Disruptive innovation in the engineering and construction industry? Sounds like an oxymoron to those who are associating the sector with the dull and dirty. But the industry is currently heading towards a digital transformation, and innovation is prominently on the agenda.

Industry leaders in Davos in January 2017, exchanged ideas on new construction technologies and business models and their potential for solving some of society’s most pressing challenges.

“It’s the right time for investment in infrastructure. Everyone complains about the lack of capital, but leveraging innovation we can close the gap now.”

Ten of the most prominent innovation cases in the construction sector are now analysed in detail by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with BCG.

The cases include Flagship projects, such as:

The cases also include disruptive startups and pilot projects, such as:

  • Chinese construction company Broad Sustainable Building, which made international headlines by constructing a 57-storey skyscraper in only 19 days.
  • MX3D, which uses robots to 3D-print a steel bridge in Amsterdam.
  • Aditazz, based in Silicon Valley, which uses design-automation principles from the semi-conductor industry to revolutionize the design of health-care facilities.
  • Winsun, which has pioneered at-scale 3D-printing of houses.
  • Uptake, a predictive analytics startup which was Forbes’ hottest startup in 2015.

In Davos, several dozen CEOs and ministers reviewed the potential of these innovations in a private session. A preliminary (soft-launch) report Shaping the Future of Construction – Lessons from leading innovators and disruptors describes seven of ten lighthouse innovation cases in detail and summarises the key success factors for implementing innovation in the construction ecosystem.

Interested? Take a look at the knowledge-sharing platform, containing these and more case studies, blog posts and mini-essays written by industry leaders as well as fresh ideas for the sector’s future developed by students and young professionals.

This article was originally published on the Future of Construction Knowledge Sharing Platform and the WEF Agenda Blog.

--Future of Construction 14:32, 20 Jun 2017 (BST)