Carillion joins UK Green Building Council Innovation Lab

UK construction giant Carillion has become the latest partner of the UK Green Building Council's (UK-GBC) Innovation Lab, which aims to solve systemic challenges in the built environment through collaborative and sustainable innovation.

The Innovation Lab offers workshops and collaborative opportunities for members to analyse future trends and develop new solutions in the construction industry. Carillion, which has already netted £33m in additional profits from sustainability actions, joins Canary Wharf Group, Land Securities and Marks & Spencer (M&S) as an Innovation Lab lead partner.

UK-GBC head of learning and innovation Cat Hirst said:The open innovation format of UK-GBC’s Innovation Lab sets a precedent for collaboration in the built environment. Using our unique position to convene organisations from across the built environment, we have been able to harness the collective intelligence from key professionals to analyse and address the issues that affect our industry.

“The Innovation Lab is already generating some important insights that will go on to inform the innovation process as the participants begin to target issues that require a radical approach to innovation.  What’s clear is that these industry wide issues need to be tackled in collaboration, and cannot be solved as effectively by a single organisation.”

Breakthrough challenges

The Innovation Lab officially began in December with a workshop aimed at identifying “breakthrough challenges” that will form the basis for nine-months of workshops and programmes. The initial workshop highlighted the key challenges that the industry will face in regards to climate resilience, resource efficiency and technological advancements. 

The team has since focused on one key question – ‘how to make space as agile as technology?’. Future activities will centre around the issues such as delivering spaces that enhance creativity and productivity, while flexibly responding to individuals’ preferences, and developing a model where buildings adapt in real-time to create agile, user-centred and productive workspaces.

Speaking to edie shortly after the launch of its inaugural Innovation Lab workshop, Hirst said that fostering innovation can restore confidence and strengthen leadership in the built environment during a time of “increased difficulty and uncertainty”.

Hirst revealed that the labs aren’t aimed at “reinventing the wheel”, but rather creating a dialogue that encourages companies to work with one another. With innovations such as battery storage set to create ties between multiple sectors, Hirst said that the built environment needs to seize the collaborative opportunities that innovation will bring to ensure that solutions are tailored to specific needs.

UK-GBC has played an active role in promoting innovation in the built environment in the past. Through the Council’s Future Leaders programme, which aims to facilitate the growth of new leaders and business models through collaboration, graduates established LOOP, a digital marketplace for asset reuse in the built environment.

Carillion and sustainability megatrends

In the most recent of edie’s series of thought-leadership articles on the global impact of megatrends, Carillion’s chief sustainability officer David Picton explored how businesses can adapt to the increasing challenges of demographic and social change at a time when populations are continuing to rise and people in all regions are living longer. You can read that part in the series here

The series will culminate with a high-level discussion focused on megatrends at the Strategy and Innovation conference at edie Live 2017 at the NEC Birmingham on 24 May. Find out more about edie Live 2017 and get your free two-day pass here

George Ogleby

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