This article originally appeared in the March/April 2016 edition of the GVCA Journal.
The conversation about innovation in the construction industry is not new. Since the days we first introduced portable computers, wi-fi and smartphones there has been a promise that new technology will bring efficiency and transparency to the construction industry. However, despite the exponential increase in new technology available, the overall sentiment towards change is still fairly fragmented.
The technology champions are those who are open to change and interested in helping to move the industry forward. On the flip side, the naysayers fight hard to stick with the tried and true processes that have carried them through their careers up until this point.
When trying to create a company culture that is open to change and interested in moving forward when it comes to technology, it’s important to understand what the common objections are, and how to manage them.
Technology is Too Expensive
This objection is most often raised when a company lacks an IT department, or a budget dedicated to technology. If there isn’t a dedicated budget available, then nine times out of ten the costs will seem too high. Contrarily, when a budget has been earmarked for these kinds of initiatives then you can start the conversation with a number in mind and work to find solutions that fit.
Our Team Isn’t Tech-Savvy Enough to Use Technology
Unfortunately, this objection is typically brought up by the office staff in reference to their side people. Manage it by asking the people who will use the proposed new technology what their thoughts are. If they agree they don’t yet have the technical skills to use it, then get to the root of the problem and help provide the education required to enhance their skills. If in fact this isn’t raised as an objection by the end users, then you’re in the clear.
Technology Won’t Make a Difference
When a company has flawed or outdated processes in place, throwing a new piece of software into the mix won’t fix a thing. Pay attention to this objection and try to learn why the person objecting doesn’t think introducing technology will help. Do they know something about flawed internal processes that you don’t?
The most important thing to take away about managing pushback towards innovation is to ask the right questions and fix the root problems first. Sometimes that may mean providing some bridge technology education to our team, or revamping internal processes. That’s OK. Making these other changes before adopting new technology is also a big step forward.