Technology has been affecting U.S. Manufacturing since Oliver Evans built an automated flour mill in 1785. In 1820 coal power and machine production kicked off the U.S. Industrial Revolution.
Interchangeable parts, steam engines, assembly lines, lean manufacturing, robotics, Six Sigma, gesture based automation, and countless other technologies have been attributed to the success of US Manufacturing.
In his book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma”, Clayton M. Christenson coined the term disruptive technology. Christenson defines new technology as being either sustaining or disruptive. Sustaining technology are technologies that improve existing technologies, while disruptive technology is a new, unproven technology.
Examples include the personal computer displacing the typewriter, email disrupting the postal service and greeting card industry, and cloud computing displacing in-house resources and hosted services.
Technology is not new to the AEC industry, architects and engineers have embraced computer aided design (CAD), and mechanized equipment has reduced physical labor on the job site.
New technologies — drones, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, and nanotechnology — are advancing rapidly, but the AEC industry is slow to adopt the full potential of these products. Drones are being used to film impressive fly-overs for marketing purposes, and some limited inspection uses. AI is used for virtual tours of yet to be built projects. Robotics and 3D printing are being used to lay brick, print concrete structures, and print steel rebar. Nanotechnology offers tremendous potential for improving building materials.
The AEC industry largely views technology from a sustaining perspective only, keeping current with what’s available and how new technology can be incorporated into existing processes and procedures. Skeptics claim data storage requirements and cost are prohibitive, and the risk of unproven technology is too great.
Staunch hold-outs believe there is no replacement for experience and skill on the jobsite. The AEC industry embraces normality, where progress is tracked on a continuum and success is constrained to three buckets — time, cost, and quality.
As Jack Uldrich in “Jump the Curve” says, keeping up with technology simply isn’t good enough. Agile CM is the AEC disrupter, displacing traditional construction management principles. An Agile CM is the innovative owner’s representative that uses Agile Product Development principles to bring the AEC team together as a single entity, taking full advantage of the time, cost, and quality efficiencies technology has to offer.
Originally published at https://medium.com/@BuildAgile/agile-cm-innovation-vs-normality-7623371a8eef