Radical and Incremental Innovations in Construction

“Innovation” is a concept that goes hand-in-hand with the concept of “Invention” - the idea, practise or object that is perceived as new by an individual or the unit adopting it. Firms, organisations and businesses which provide plasters in Llandudnoconstruction in North Wales and the whole of the UK break innovation into three categories: Product, process, and service.

Products and processes are known to have lifecycles. Typically, at the start of a product's lifetime there are a huge amount of designs and varying approaches. Over time, a variation in product narrows as standards and concepts emerge which are refined slowly by improvement over time. Radical innovations are those that open up new markets and can be covered by varying disciplines – construction included. To give a very simple example, the invention of the television could be considered a radical innovation.

A radical innovation is one that changes the rules, and creates real opportunity for new approaches to be developed. Saying that, radical innovation is double-edged. Progress can often make existing skills and competencies obsolete – the same way the advent of the first television sets meant that no-one was interested in the purchase of the Wireless any longer. In terms of site workers, this can be devastating for both individual and organisation. A good firm will ensure that their staff’s training is kept up to date and that they are abreast of the curve before it turns into a precipice.

After a radical innovation (such as our example of the television) Incremental innovation is the process of refinement. Incremental innovation comprises small changes to design and performance to gradually and proactively take advantage of breakthroughs in other areas to apply it to their innovation. The televisions of today are a far cry from the clumsy, awkward and deep black-plastic encased monsters of the 1990s, and they themselves were once considered a large advantage over older models. In matters of construction, innovation improves the performance of existing processes and thus strengthens the position of firms that adopts it.

Countless civil engineering, groundworks and construction firms in the UK understand that innovation needs to change from just being the application of good ideas to a process that is manageable, measured and controlled in a systematic fashion. The standardisation of innovation is the most important thing; with the key lying in considering innovation a management process. That way, each part of an organisation can control and improve different aspects of innovation and integrate them into company processes.