Are you struggling to implement innovation in your construction business? You’re not alone. The construction industry often grapples with adopting new technologies and processes. But what if there was a systematic approach to innovation? Enter the OPTIMA framework, developed by Todd Wynne, Chief Innovation Officer at Rogers O’Brien Construction.

The Innovation Challenge in Construction

Construction faces unique hurdles when it comes to innovation. Tight margins, safety concerns, and a traditional mindset often slow progress. Yet, the need for innovation has never been greater. From labour shortages to sustainability demands, the industry must evolve.

Todd understands these challenges firsthand. With years of experience in construction technology, Wynne has been at the forefront of industry innovation. His journey from co-founder of Project Atlas to his current role at Rogers O’Brien has shaped his approach to innovation.

 

Introducing the OPTIMA Framework

So, what is OPTIMA? It’s a systematic approach to innovation in construction. Each letter in OPTIMA represents a crucial element:

  • O: Objective
  • P: People
  • T: Targeted outcomes
  • I: Integrated processes
  • M: Modern tools
  • A: Accurate measurement


This framework provides a roadmap for successful innovation implementation. It ensures that all aspects of a new initiative are considered and aligned.

 

 

Why a Systematic Approach Matters

Have you ever tried to implement a new tool or process, only to see it fail? You’re not alone. Ad-hoc innovation often leads to disappointment. Why? Because it doesn’t consider all the factors needed for success.

A systematic approach, like OPTIMA, changes this. It ensures that:

  • You have a clear goal in mind
  • The right people are involved
  • Success is clearly defined
  • New processes integrate with existing ones
  • The right tools are selected
  • Progress is measured accurately

By addressing all these elements, OPTIMA increases the chances of successful innovation.

Todd Wynne emphasises the importance of a structured approach:

Innovation is an outcome. It’s not an input. You can’t force innovation to occur. If you even think about it, we don’t know if something’s innovative until we’re looking in the rear view mirror. It’s always after the fact when and that’s why listen to how we even describe things are innovative. We go, that was innovative. And we’re saying it in the past tense.


This insight underscores why a framework like OPTIMA is crucial. It helps create the conditions for innovation to occur naturally.

 

Setting the Stage: Objective and People

Let’s dive deeper into the first two elements of OPTIMA: Objective and People.

Objective: The Foundation of Innovation

Every innovation effort must start with a clear objective. What problem are you trying to solve? What improvement are you aiming for? Without a clear objective, your efforts may lack direction.

For example, your objective might be to reduce rework by 30% on your projects. This clear, specific goal provides a foundation for all other decisions.

 

People: The Drivers of Change

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It requires the right people with the right skills and mindset. When selecting team members for an innovation initiative, consider:

  • Do they have the necessary skills?
  • Do they have the capacity to take on this work?
  • Are they open to new ideas and ways of working?


Remember, the success of your innovation efforts often hinges on the people driving them.

Todd stresses the importance of people in the innovation process:

“We’re not looking to invest in technology just for investing in technology sake. We’re looking to solve the company’s problems and our company strategy.”

This highlights why having the right people who understand the company’s objectives is crucial for successful innovation.

 

Conclusion

The OPTIMA framework offers a structured approach to innovation in construction. By starting with clear objectives and involving the right people, you set the stage for success. In our next article, we’ll explore the ‘T’ and ‘I’ of OPTIMA: Targeted outcomes and Integrated processes. Stay tuned!