Innovating through Disruption…and Stepping into the Future of Construction
We hear so much about Disruptive Innovation these days, but what exactly is it…and why does it matter? Well, first things, “The most influential business idea of the early 21st Century” was first propounded by Clayton Christensen (at Harvard) in 1995 before going on to achieve almost immediate runaway success and finally making the front cover of Nature in 2019 (putting it alongside the discovery of DNA, and men landing on the moon)…that’s how important Disruptive Innovation became within fourteen short years. It’s lost nothing of its glister ever since. So nobody even remotely interested in the workings of our modern world can afford to stay indifferent to the theory’s pervasive influence.
Sure, you say (perhaps with increasing impatience)…but what does it all mean? So let me deal with that…
In our fast-evolving world, we are increasingly doing it by harnessing the power of emerging technologies (think iPhone and Uber). It means smaller companies, with significantly fewer resources, will always be able to challenge the dominance of established, seemingly dominant, businesses: it's why Kodak went bust after we all started taking and sharing photos on our iPhones; it's why Woolworth’s disappeared from what’s left of our high street, and it's why Uber has, almost literally, driven established cab companies off the roads. Because Kodak, Woolworths, and even those humble cabbies were focussing on the needs of (usually the most profitable) market segments: they were catering to the needs of only a small portion of their customers…and ignored the needs of everyone else. Disruptive innovators, on the other hand, had a laser-like focus on those overlooked segments: delivering improved functionalities at a lower cost.
And before you knew it, those green-gilled market entrants had started to move upmarket: while the previous incumbents, moving at a dinosaur pace, couldn’t respond quickly enough to changing conditions (think, again, Kodak and Woolworth’s): the new entrants picked up volume and gained market share…and, hey presto, you’ve got market disruption. The commercial world was turned upside down but moved inexorably on…which is why former titans in their field, such as US Steel, Westinghouse, and Pan Am, have long ago been consigned to the dusty footnotes of history.
Scroll back a bit because disruptive Innovation is increasingly fuelled by emerging technologies, making those key market changes ever more rapid (as the technology develops more rapidly every day).
In short, technology itself has become more disruptive, and those lumbering old market interests are finding it harder and harder to respond.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in our current global construction markets.
Remember we mentioned the increasing tendency of incumbents to focus on a sliver of profitable market segments (take a look back three paragraphs if you don’t)…well that means, more and more, that our current crop of dinosaur contractors has been remorselessly interested in building more and more glass-walled apartment blocks for a splintered constituency of the Super Rich, Russian Oligarchs, and a variety of dubious potentates. They’re simply not paying attention to the pressing needs of those worldwide who are now (right this minute) in dire need of day-to-day affordable housing.
This is precisely where disruptive Innovation comes in…
Modular Building Technologies are the market entrant par excellence: radically improving the quality of new buildings, delivering them twice as fast and at half the cost of conventional alternatives, and doing it all in a sustainable and planet-friendly fashion using cutting-edge AI and Machine Learning Technologies. Suddenly, meeting the needs of everyday families has ceased to be a pipe dream, and creating homes, hospitals, and workplaces is a dream everyone can share.
The rest, as they might say, is disruptively innovative history…
We can learn from our shared history: how subtly economic advances intertwine with technology, and nowhere is that clearer at the moment than Constructech.