Embrace digital collaboration to boost social outcomes and sustainability

Embracing digital transformation and collaboration will lead to better decision-making, attract a more diverse range of people to work in the industry, create infrastructure that benefits society as a whole and become central to achieving positive social outcomes and enhanced sustainability.

Those were the key themes to emerge at the latest in the popular series of Infrastructure Intelligence Live webinars on Friday 22 April 2022, that looked at how collaboration is playing a vital role in the ongoing digital transformation of the industry. 

Hosted by Infrastructure Intelligence editor Andy Walker, in partnership with communications specialists BECG, leading industry figures from Mott Macdonald, Ramboll and Bentley Systems took part in a typically insightful and wide-ranging debate. The digital transformation of the construction and infrastructure sector is challenging established ways of working and bringing to the fore the necessity for more effective collaboration around projects, people and clients.

Richard Shennan, group digital delivery director at Mott MacDonald, said: “Digital is at the centre of our purpose, helping achieve positive social outcomes and enhanced sustainability. We’re very aware of the changing commercial landscape – we often compete or combine – but there’s not a huge differential and we all try to work in partnership, with digital bringing different organisations together.

“We also have a department that invests in new digital start-ups, so we’re investing in a diverse range of new people and talents, helping to build an industry ecosystem that uses data to help make better and more agile decisions for clients and the benefit of society as a whole.”

Emily Scoones, head of digital innovation - building services, at Ramboll, said: “A lot of companies have been working with similar goals for a while, using digital to make better decisions and work more efficiently. Technology allows us to transcend traditional working methods and work more holistically with other parties. This is allowing us to explore solutions that lead to more holistic decisions that were not previously possible.

“This creates an environment for both engineers and people from other disciplines to really work well together - actually creating infrastructure that is useful for the people using it. And working with new technology helps attract a new and more diverse range of digitally aware people to the industry - people who may have not previously have considered a career in the industry.”

Mark Coates, international director of public policy and advocacy at Bentley Systems, added that leadership played a key role in the ongoing digital transformation of the industry. He said: “Adopting and advancing technology alone is not a guarantee of success. We need to look at people, leadership and collaboration as an industry, with the aim of delivering more for less, especially in light of the financial pressures caused by one of the biggest pandemics in history.

“We can learn positive lessons from other industries to help us move forward, but leadership is the core that drives the adoption of new technology – nurturing new skills and attracting new people into the industry.”

Infrastructure Intelligence editor Andy Walker said: “There’s no doubt that the ongoing digital transformation of the industry is helping people collaborate more effectively across the board, and that in turn is helping key-decision makers make better informed and sustainable decisions on both a local, national and global basis for the benefit of local communities and society as a whole. 

“Speakers at today’s webinar were full of insight and enthusiasm and it was great to see and hear the passion they had for technology and a more agile way of working combining to attract a wider and more diverse range of people to join the industry.”

Click here to watch the webinar in full.

The Infrastructure Intelligence Live series of events is organised in association with our strategic partner, BECG

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