The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Transforming Construction Network Plus webinar explores the business of industrial transformation

31 October 2019

Offering an international perspective, The Transforming Construction Network Plus held its second webinar on the transformation of value creation and practice in the construction industry.


The second Transforming Construction Network Plus (N+) webinar took place on Wednesday 23 October. Featuring Dr Samuel C MacAulay and Dr Lena E Bygballe and moderated by Prof Andrew Davies, the webinar considered the management and organisational aspect of the business of industrial transformation. Bringing an international perspective on how to respond to some of the challenges faced by the industry, the two academics explored new ways of thinking and alternative models.  

Dr MacAulay first highlighted how Industry 4.0 is changing the way that we create and capture value in the construction sector. Exploring the different dimensions involved in innovation, he differentiated the ways in which radical and incremental innovations impact on a single function or more widely across the value chain.

Dr MacAulay commented: 

‘If you can’t capture the value you create, you don’t have a competitive advantage and you are going to end up with profit margins that are unsustainable, as we have so often seen in the construction industry’ 

After presenting three new ways of creating value, Sam reaffirmed that the competitive advantage for a business also depends on capturing value by inhibiting imitators. He then illustrated how and why the traditional economic, legal and social tools should be adapted to better prevent rivals from imitating a firm’s ‘value-creating moves’. 

Noting that these new ways of creating value required changes to organisational processes, Dr Bygballe offered an overview of the Norwegian construction sector, noting similarities and differences to the UK. She highlighted a research programme on implementing lean construction and explained how it was a great example for understanding the organisational changes that need to take place. Reflecting on what that research has demonstrated over recent years, she then discussed good strategies and practices.

Dr Bygballe observed:

 ‘Change is also a culture for allowing to test out, to try things, and to learn by doing and experimenting.’

Reinforcing that such a change can come from any management level, Lena then illustrated the cycle of organisational change processes. She concluded by affirming that change is enabled through a combination of structural interventions, social learning processes and some key conditions, such as legitimisation, training and skills development.

The webinar concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Prof Andrew Davies. Dr MacAulay and Dr Bygballe pointed out the main knowledge gaps in this upcoming construction industry transformation and discussed how this change will impact the sector.   

This event was the second of four international webinars from the N+, which is part of the Transforming Construction Challenge. The N+ is funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The N+ is uniting construction’s academic and industrial communities to create a new research and knowledge base, dedicated to addressing the systemic problems holding back the sector.  

Watch online

A recording of the webinar is available to watch online:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/F651Pe2Fvv0


Download the presentation slides [pdf, 1.8 MB]

About our speakers 

Dr. Samuel C. MacAulay

Dr. Sam C MacAulay is a Senior Lecturer at UTS Business School at the University of Technology Sydney and a Visiting Researcher at The Bartlett, University College London. His research explores how new products and services are created and how digitization is transforming the way businesses create and capture of value. This research has appeared in a wide variety of journals including MIT’s Sloan Management Review and the Project Management Journal. There are a wide range of organizations that have drawn on this knowledge to inform the management of innovation ranging from Crossrail, Thames Tideway, i3P and SydneyMetro, through to the Jacobs and Laing O’Rourke. 

Dr Lena E. Bygballe

Dr Lena E Bygballe is an Associate Professor and Head of Centre for the Construction Industry in the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at BI Norwegian Business School. Her research interests are within themes related to innovation processes and inter-organisational relationships in the construction sector. She has published in several construction and project management journals, including International Journal of Project Management, Project Management Journal, Construction Management and Economics, and Engineering, Construction, and Architectural Management. She has for several years worked closely with organisations in the Norwegian AEC industry in research projects and committee work, and been highly involved in the governmental initiated construction improvement program in Norway, Bygg21.

Prof Andrew Davies

Prof Andrew Davies is RM Phillips Freeman Chair and Professor of Innovation Management at Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School. He is Honorary Professor in the Management of Projects in the School of Construction and Project Management, the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London. Andrew Davis is also Co-Investigator of the Transforming Construction Network Plus. His research focuses on the management of innovation in large, complex and high-risk projects and project-based firms. He is author of Projects: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), The Business of Projects: Managing Innovation in Complex Products and Systems, Cambridge University Press (2005), co-authored with Michael Hobday, and The Business of Systems Integration, Oxford University Press (2003, 2005), co-edited with Andrea Prencipe and Michael Hobday. He has published in a range of leading management journals such as California Management Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Research Policy, Organization Studies, Industrial Marketing Management, Industrial and Corporate Change, International Journal of Production and Operations Management and International Journal of Project Management.