"Designers also need to think broadly about innovation and not confuse it with mere technology. Innovation can take many forms, from products to processes to behaviours and new ways of working. To truly achieve innovation in infrastructure projects, clients, designers and delivery teams need to start thinking creatively at the concept stage, implement and embed innovation systematically by bringing in good ideas - whatever the source may be - at all stages of the project lifecycle.
What we learn from the Crossrail example is that true innovation requires a strategic commitment, proper financial support and an approach based on openness and collaboration. A common brake on innovation is the fear that there won’t be a return on investment: why share your best ideas if there’s no opportunity to capitalise on them in the future? But when a ‘risk and reward’ sharing approach is supported at the highest levels from the outset, developing new ideas becomes embedded in everyone’s attitude to the benefit of the project, its client and ultimately the end-user.
Good ideas should travel, and when designers deliver exemplar projects featuring innovation in all stages through to construction, they need to promote them widely among their clients and peers. Only by sharing success stories and understanding that people and culture are instrumental to bringing about the change and are at the heart of innovation, will the industry increase its adoption of innovation and turn a buzz word into something real."