Why It’s Hard to Innovate in Construction (And How to Do it Effectively) | Ep. 152

Contrary to the popular belief the construction industry is an innovative and forward-thinking industry.

However, there are some risks inherent in construction that can slow the pace of innovation. 

Brian Potter — a structural engineer, returns to Construction Genius to discuss why it’s seemingly hard to innovate in construction and how construction companies can do it more effectively.

We also discuss:

• What construction companies should focus on to make innovation happen,

• The difference between the United States, Europe, and Asia in terms of innovation.

We also touch on some opportunities for innovation in terms of 3D printing, and the future of innovation in the construction industry for the next 4-5 years. Press that play button and let’s get started!

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Discussion Points:

• 0:00 Introduction

• 3:02 The construction industry is quite advanced than outsiders actually think it is

• 4:53 Why it’s hard to innovate in the construction industry

• 7:25 Micro approach vs macro approach to innovation?

• 8:20 Who should be initiating innovation in a construction company?

• 10:50 The role of project owners in terms of driving innovation

• 12:21 Characteristics of a General Contractor or Subcontractor who are effective at innovation

• 13:37 Maintaining profitability while promoting innovativeness

• 16:02 How construction companies manage risk without taking so much of a toll on the financial aspect

• 17:26 Understanding that failure is a part of innovation

• 19:54 Key innovation trends in the next five to seven years

• 21:06 The future of 3D printing in the construction industry

• 23:32 Adopting innovation: The difference between the United States, Europe, and Asia

• 25:34 The effect of the American business system towards innovation in construction industries in the United States

• 27:20 The characteristics of a highly effective company when it comes to innovation

About the Guest:

Brian Potter is a structural engineer and formerly worked at the construction startup Katerra. He is the author of the “Construction Physics” newsletter.


• Episode 131: Katerra: The Rise and Fall of a Billion Dollar Construction Start Up: https://www.constructiongenius.com/podcast/katerra-the-rise-and-fall-of-a-billion-dollar-construction-start-up/

• Subscribe to Brian’s blog: https://constructionphysics.substack.com/

• Another Day In Katerradise https://constructionphysics.substack.com/p/another-day-in-katerradise

• Follow Brian on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/brian-potter-6a082150/

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Connect with me on LinkedIn. For more podcast episodes, you may also visit my website. Tune in and subscribe to the Construction Genius: A Leadership Master-Class Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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