While momentum builds in the property and construction sectors to embrace the benefits that digitisation and automation can bring.
Aurecon believes the pace of change remains too slow and has made significant alterations to its leadership cohort to address what it’s calling ‘an industry in catch-up mode’.
To drive transformation across its built environment business, global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon has appointed its Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), John McGuire, as Global Managing Director, to lead its built environment team worldwide. Global Director of Excellence and Expertise, Dr Kourosh Kayvani’s role will be extended to include full responsibility for innovation across the company.
Transforming delivery to built environment clients
“No industry is immune to change and the impacts of digital transformation, but some industries have been faster than others in embracing the benefits that digitisation and automation can bring. By comparison, the building industry has been a slow mover and is now feeling both the disruptive impacts of digital, as well as the benefits it can bring for those who embrace it and innovate,” believes Giam Swiegers, Aurecon’s Global CEO.
To date, McGuire has been instrumental in developing and leading Aurecon’s innovation strategy, the result of which saw Aurecon named among the top five most innovative companies for 2017 by the Australian Financial Review. As an experienced mechanical engineer with a 30-year history in the building space, he has a passion for design, innovation and the built environment and is poised to transform the way Aurecon delivers to its built environment clients.
Understanding true innovation
“The construction industry needs to catch up quickly to such an extent that, in future, buildings will be assembled, not constructed, and likely with minimal human hand. Robotics, autonomous vehicles and cranes, drones or even 3D printing on site will become commonplace. However, that’s only half the story. For a building itself to be successful and differentiated in a crowded market, it will also need to be customised to each business’ specific needs – and those needs will be defined by disruption. This is what companies and designers are not seeing. We need to make quick advances in digital construction, but at the same time, we also need to focus on the personalisation and customisation that will make the business operating from the building different to their competitor’s.
One of the key differences between a building and a product is that a product is disposable. Mass production makes sense because of the product’s short lifespan. The lifespan of a building, however, is 50-100 years or more, meaning the ability to adapt to changing requirements and functions over time is paramount. This paradox is where engineers can play a key role in developing elegant solutions at the nexus of those complex, conflicting parameters,” says John.
“John has successfully reshaped Aurecon’s innovation culture, and I am delighted that he will now be at the forefront of transformation of our built environment business as its Global Managing Director,” says Giam, going on to thank departing Managing Director, James Bennett, for his contribution to the role over the past two years and his many years of service to Aurecon.
Becoming incubators of innovation
Meanwhile Kourosh, who has been prolifically awarded for his influence in the industry, most recently winning the John Connell Gold Medal from Engineers Australia – Structural College, is renowned for ensuring creative and innovative design underpins the way engineers frame and solve problems facing humanity and our environment – such as urbanisation and extreme weather patterns.
Kourosh, who has for the last two years played a pivotal role in mobilising Aurecon’s global pool of leading experts to focus their cultivated skills, deep insight and professional passion towards solving the critical and complex problems Aurecon’s clients need solved. He will now extend his focus to company-wide innovation and join Giam’s Executive as Managing Director – Design, Innovation & Eminence, giving the company’s technical experts a voice at the main table. He comments that, “The power of engineered design has been subsumed across our profession by too much focus on delivering conventional systems and operating within narrowly-defined functional elements. We have become supporters of design, rather than incubators of innovation to create unique solutions.”
“Importantly, Aurecon believes that the things that made us successful in the past will not guarantee our success in future. We’ll continue to put in place who we believe are the very best leaders in our field – those who will ensure our brand is backed by substance and that we deliver with flair. This will position us to challenge the status quo and take our organisation and its clients forward into a very different future,” concludes Giam.