This Q&A is taken from the full podcast episode we recorded with Olivier.

Q: Why did you decide to focus on business models in the construction industry, rather than just technology?

A: I decided to focus on business models because I believe people in the construction industry tend to focus too much on technology as the only way to solve problems. My experience working in various roles at companies like Vinci and Autodesk has shown me that business models play a crucial role in how companies create and deliver value.

Q: What are some common areas for improvement in construction business models?

A: Construction companies tend to focus on playing defense – optimising productivity and cutting costs. While this is important, they often neglect playing offense, which involves developing new offerings, differentiating from competitors, and reinventing themselves. Digital platforms have opened up new opportunities for companies to capture value in different parts of the value chain.

Q: How important is company culture in business model innovation?

A: Culture and mindset are crucial for companies looking to adapt and innovate. As technology becomes more accessible, culture will be a key differentiator. Many of the case studies in my “arc of transformation” collection focus on initiatives to transform company culture, such as learning programs and open innovation.

Q: What does the future of construction business models look like?

A: I believe the construction industry will shift from a traditional value chain to a more data-centric model. In this new arrangement, there will be originators (who gather land and financial resources), providers (who offer design, materials, and workforce), aggregators (who orchestrate the work and manage data flow), and consumers (who maintain and operate the assets). Construction companies are building their own technology platforms to enable this transition.

Q: What advice would you give to construction tech startups looking to grow?

A: My advice would be to look outside of your familiar geographies and regions. Business models and project dynamics can vary significantly between countries, so exploring new markets can uncover untapped opportunities for growth.

Q: Can you share a favorite case study of a company that has successfully transformed its business model?

A: I’m impressed by what Ferrovial has done in Spain. They’ve built the necessary IT infrastructure to create platforms, formed alliances with technology companies, and continuously think in terms of business models. One example is their joint venture with Renault to create Zity, an electric car-sharing service – showcasing how a traditional construction company can enter entirely new business areas.