Taking Part In Contract Innovation

Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain

Costain is asking the construction and engineering industry to take part in a project to assess the contractual barriers to innovation.

The industry is being invited to complete a short on-line survey as part of a project called ‘Maximising Innovation beyond Procurement and Contract Execution’ which was launched in October 2015.

Whether it’s for legal or operational reasons, the potential for innovation often diminishes as a project develops. The aim of the research project is to identify the barriers to innovation and to establish what can be done to reduce the uncertainty and risks related to innovation, so that it is maintained throughout the whole life of a project, and not just at the start.

Costain is working on the project with international law firm Pinsent Masons and the University of Cambridge, supported by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The University of Cambridge has drawn up an online questionnaire to assess people’s experiences of how contracts are operated in the framework of construction and infrastructure projects, how they can either prevent or encourage innovation, and how they may be changing. A link to the questionnaire can be found at the bottom of this article.

The results of the survey will be used as part of an industry review and delivered later this year at an industry workshop. It is therefore vital that as many people from across the business and the supply chain take part, said Costain’s Adam Golden, who is coordinating the project.

“It’s important we continue to strengthen our relationship with suppliers, while developing and promoting innovation throughout the supply chain. Costain believes in collaborative working and creating an environment where contracts, legal processes and the commercial environment can accelerate innovation to market. If you are interested in contributing, please complete this short online survey. It should only take 10 minutes to complete,” said Adam.

The team are half way through a 12 month programme of events, which includes workshops, seminars and presentations with key stakeholders to understand the ‘blockers and enablers’ of innovation from the supply chain.

Adam recently hosted a workshop at the offices of Pinsent Masons, where 40 industry leaders gathered to review and recommend improvements. HS2, Crossrail, Carillion, EDF, BAM Nuttall and TfL were part of the discussion which focused on blockers and enablers to innovation, as well as what the building blocks are for driving innovation in the supply chain.

“This subject matter really seems to have hit a nerve with many in the industry and it was fantastic to see the attendees so engaged. There is a recognition that this is an area ripe for improvement, which is very encouraging, and there is real enthusiasm for change,” said Adam.

John Pelton, Crossrail’s Strategic Projects Director and Head of Innovation, provided a case study looking at how Crossrail has encouraged innovation via their contractual structure and ground-breaking Innovate18 platform, which promotes the sharing of innovation across its supply chain.

John Pelton said: “Crossrail has sought to raise the bar in terms of how we build infrastructure in the UK and specifically through the pioneering Crossrail Innovate18 innovation programme. This will deliver benefits throughout the whole lifecycle of the railway, including planning, construction and operation. This has been achieved by thinking differently about how we work with key contractors like Costain, who have actively contributed to Crossrail’s innovation programme and demonstrated the collective value that innovation can bring. The resulting innovations will be of benefit to Crossrail and the whole construction industry.”

Mark Wray, Innovate UK’s Lead Technologist, added: “This project is important because the industry is moving from a ‘project’ to a ‘programme’ based industry, and the legal process is an important mechanism that will assist better customer outcomes through innovation. Engineering solutions providers like Costain are using this transformation to encourage innovation to market. Businesses that are able to create the right innovation environment and culture will be the ones that create a long-term sustainable future.”

If you would like to take part in the short online survey, please click on the link below:

Contract Innovation Survey


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