The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Crossrail Innovation Strategy

22 January 2013

Professor Andrew Davies, The Bartlett, UCL and Dr Sam MacAulay, Imperial College London, have recently helped develop the world's first innovation strategy for a megaproject: the £14.3bn Crossrail project linking East and West London.

Firms in the built environment - like Balfour Beatty, Laing O'Rourke and Arup - are becoming aware of the possibilities generated by innovation. High-profile megaprojects face the same issues. They can be a catalyst for innovation. 

UK construction has shown the way forward for managing megaprojects as demonstrated by the world-class delivery of the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012. But most megaprojects resist innovation, preferring to rely on established ideas, procedures and techniques.

Working with Crossrail's senior management team, Andrew and Sam have helped create a systematic process for promoting and supporting innovation in the Crossrail project supply chain. The Crossrail Innovation Strategy aims to raise the bar across the construction industry, one that for too long has been too focused on 'pushing' risk down the supply chain and giving too little thought to how we should be 'pulling' opportunities and innovation up the supply chain.

Crossrail is creating an environment where people feel they can safely share ideas across organisational boundaries, build collaborative solutions, gain the support to develop and apply novel ideas and receive recognition when they are successful. In this way, Crossrail will create a legacy the construction industry can build on in the future.