The Ecosystem Revolution: Co-ordinating Construction by Design

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Platform Ecosystems have emerged in the information technology sector to disrupt a range of business types, the most high-profile examples being: high street retail (Amazon); hotels (AirBnb); and taxis (Uber). These 'industry-wide' platform ecosystems hold network effects potential and are progressing beyond the tech-sector to disrupt more traditional business domains. Industry-wide platforms emphasize value creation from connectivity and collaboration, as well as the generation and use of data to inform and drive decision-making.
Construction industry business models rely on interaction to generate value.
These interactions are commonly considered to occur along a linear, additive, 'pipeline' value chain. Professional expertise is typically contained within domains aligned to project phases. These domains form boundaries that inhibit and limit value creating interactions. Integration is sought as a means of providing a 'thread' through these project phases and between the professional domains. However, this thread creates further professional specialization requiring significant project management. This paper proposes that the thread of integration can be a role that emphasises and uses the principles of design-thinking. This paper will articulate this potential and show that instead of managing project-value along a pipeline, design holds the ability to co-ordinate value interactions on an industry-wide platform. Case studies look at emerging construction ecosystems, and this paper considers what a broader platform ecosystem for the whole construction industry may look like. The paper will focus on the questions: How are platform ecosystems emerging to redefine value generation in construction? How might a design-led industry platform ecosystem emerge in construction? The principles of platform ecosystems stand to fundamentally alter integration removing layers of management and connecting actors more immediately. This paper reveals that an industry-wide construction industry platform ecosystem can benefit from utilising design as co-ordinator and integrator of actions in order to drive value generation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st Annual Design Research Conference (ADR18)
EditorsDuncan W. Maxwell
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW, Australia
PublisherUniversity of Sydney
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-646-99249-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Design Research Conference 2018 - The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 27 Sep 201828 Sep 2018
Conference number: 1st


ConferenceAnnual Design Research Conference 2018
Abbreviated titleADR 2018
Internet address

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