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UKCW2023 invites DCS Chair to Main Stage

“According to my peer group, I have been ‘equipped to Serve others’ and empowered to ‘inspire the next generation’. With a new post-pandemic, ‘business imperative’ being established along with a dire need for new business models; the business-case for ‘diversity of thought’ will clearly involve disruptive, agile, intelligent, data-driven, technology led solutions” _ Abisogun OBE [April 2023]

In all honesty [at least IMHO] the challenge today, for the construction [and infrastructure] sector [or system of systems, as we have effectively become] is not the technology – it’s our people. It’s time for leaders to lead and aligned to that fact, is the clear and further acknowledgement that ‘measurable and sustainable’ technology adoption is simply not possible, without mapping out the ‘human touch’ or various touchpoints.

At CDBB – during some of the best years of my professional career – working with my ‘industry’ peer group, we attempted to create and leave a legacy of assets to help lead and shape ‘various’ conversation moving forward. We never concluded that piece of work, which in essence has now become a precursor to many, along with a plethora of options, for all to embrace by way of ‘preferred’ next steps.

However, there is also the ‘matter of fact’ conclusion that construction in many ways has lost its moral compass. With reference to the Grenfell tragedy and the legacy of the Building Safety Act [BSA2022] it is also noteworthy to refer to the ‘unrelenting’ rise of machine learning, AI and/or digital ‘super-intelligence – in fact, “can ethical technology truly help us to regain and capture the sectors’ moral obligations?”. Well, if I said I was of the ‘yes’ camp of thought – would you even be surprised?

And talking of next steps, I recall attending an amazing industry event last year November 2022, kindly invited by my dear friend and colleague Anthony Impey; called ‘Trust and Productivity’ it was the launch the Private Sector Construction Playbook.

Regrettably there were so many obvious and visible omissions on the day [including not a very diverse audience of industry leaders] which perhaps was not so much an issue or failure / oversight by the Construction Productivity Taskforce, but yet more ‘evidence’ and further indication of just how much we still have to do [as a sector] in seeking to sustainably diversify the talentpool and the sectors leadership.

The amazingly contextual Trust and Productivity Report [took all of 20months to produce], however, as you can see from my piece with the team at Digital Construction Week, this is a conversation that I have fielded and participated in for almost three decades [yes all of my professional career] and I’m both a fan and now curator, of #GoodTech; come walk with me…….

So just how far away are we from this utopia position where we will all co-exist in a ‘respectful environment’ one that fully reflects and embraces our individual and collective differences?

Despite being ‘ever the optimist’, and in the presence of my ‘new role’ as Chairman of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion ‘DEI’ Committee at the Construction Industry Council – I have been minded to observe [during our first two meetings] the informed perspectives of my fellow committee members drawn from the esteemed constituent membership of the Council itself. In truth I’m not convinced that we have done enough as a sector and we actually, appear to be regressing at a rate of knots, on a number of protected characteristics, top of the list [for me] being race and ethnicity; I know, I know [I can here it in the background already] “nothing new to see here Bola, put a sock in it please!”……….. but hey.

So, if you’d like to hear more [and be part of the conversation] come and join me next week at my panel discussion; and I forewarn you – I won’t be holding back, but I will of course be polite and remain factually correct.

Moving on, I have to say that our ‘multi-faceted’ challenge [as a ‘system of systems’] is not exactly a difficult one; now I say this with complete confidence – AND – along with an array of industry leaders and allies, I am prepared [God willing] to do something about it.

For me, the answer to many of the industry’s pain point sits squarely in one conversation …….. and we all have a need to continuously improve, right?

Skills, skills and more skills …………. it really is the only way; and I’m talking about #SkillsForAll – there is and can be NO EXCEPTION to this rule; and that is why I am excited about the Building Safety Act. The BSA2022 has instilled the need for fresh thinking amidst the wider output and key deliverable the construction of a ‘Golden Thread’ _ on EVERY construction project. Clients, including funders and insurers [and in many cases the Accountable Person(s)] have a real ‘leadership’ role to play moving forward; one that the latter cannot delegate to a third party.

My learned colleague at BIM Academy, the soon to be [Dr] Dean Douglas, Researcher ……….

– has already committed to working with me to disrupt [existing workflows], using digital twins as an ethical, open and transparent scalable solution. It’s time to have some fun with new agile, business models too [aka #PQS2030] …….. !

Might I was add, that this rather important conversation [on behalf of the Black Business Association via the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry] has also begun with colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic .........

Now, I’m really looking forward to this conversation, hosted by Broadcaster and Radio 4 Presenter, Stuart Jack, along with my strategic partner, Mark Williams, of the sector award winning, digital twin platform, TwinnedIt

Back in June 2020, the team at McKinsey wrote a fabulous report, called the ‘next normal in construction’; and I would highly recommend it if you have any suspicion about what is ‘actually’ coming down the tracks during the next decade. And, yes, AI does have a ‘critical and integral’ role to play in the future, across the globe; moreso as we hurl towards our various net-zero targets where ‘human behaviours’ will need to monitored, in the context of nett ‘carbon emissions’.

However, the core tenets of a successful ‘system of systems’ will always be premised upon some key and foundational ‘industry basics’ …….

Both, present a suite of themes that have been articulated by both of my UK based professional bodies, the CIOB …….

And again, by the RICS ……. where I was humbled to have been afforded the opportunity to curate the foreword [thank you Prof Anil]..... !

With the above in mind, allow me to wrap up and bring this conversation back to the only point that I believe will unlock the above challenge(s) .......

…… and yes, this is one that I am happy to lead on, underpinned by an unapologetic focus on #YoungPeople and #SocialValue; yes, Digital Twin skills. Please take a look at our 'various programmes' and come and talk to us at the DTSA / Digital Twin Skills Academy CIC

See you next month!


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