Transitions in construction

Transitions in construction

Whatever you thought, think again.


Lean Green goes back to the Lab

ResearchPosted by Dan Engström Wed, November 02, 2011 09:55:15
Vinnova is the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, aims to increase the competitiveness of Swedish researchers and companies. They just had a major call for proposals under the umbrella of innovations driven by society's challenges. From over 600 applications, a total of 94 applications were accepted, on areas from how to apply the right health care measures in every situation, to analysis of options for how we move the town of Kiruna as the major mine underneath is moving towards it. Some fabulous ideas there.
The core of the organizations behind the competence centre Lean Wood Engineering also applied (Lean begin the production philosophy of doing what's good for the customeer and nothing else). LWE works with processes and products for housing and wood manufacturing. Our application was called Lean Green, and applied a lean product development process for sustainable cities. Construction projects today are part of a continuous process with interdisciplinary teams that include various stakeholders in the construction sector; from politics and government to business, retail and universities. The innovation is the use of industrial methods and Lean in a planning perspective.

LWE has a well-earned good reputation, illustrated by the centre being invited by the European Commission as one of only two Swedish organizations to give input on the 8th framework programme. I can say this because I'm new in the group and haven't had time yet to discredit LWE. Yes, I am partially joking. Anyway. We were surprised and disappointed not to see our application accepted. We have now re-read it and realise we were simply trying to hard, going for too wide a scope. The application even gave our aim as to achieve sustainable housing by focusing on everything from the best accommodation (Product Innovation), best yield (Business Innovation), lowest ecological footprint (from 1000 years to 100 years in 10 years) with the most efficient production (Production innovation).

The potential of applying a coherent value-chain with process logic in planning is sound and needs to be adressed. But with hindsight, I probably wouldn't have given us the funding either. So it's back to the lab again, an important lesson wiser.