How do we innovate?
Are we prisoners of our shareholders when we try to innovate? Are we prisoners of the CFO orthodoxy? What is our choice in the capitalist’s dilemma?

How do we learn?
Miles Davies was performing a new try every night on the same song. As every jazz musician he was building on the mistakes of others. What it takes to have 10 years experience versus 1 year experience 10 times?

The construction industry has a very slow clock-speed and is still notoriously inefficient. Construction is one of the more people-intensive industries. The construction industry has historically been slow to pursue innovation and sometimes seems reluctant to encourage it. There are structural issues as well. The industry is fractured, and its procurement processes seldom include incentives for innovation and R&D generally, which are limited by its tight profit margins. Finally, construction companies tend to see projects not as part of a pipeline but as unique; this mind-set reduces their ability to transfer innovations from one project to another.

Roadway design can be a highly iterative process with designers having to balance the demands of geographic and financial constraints, compliance with geometric guidelines, and management of safety, as well as providing suitable capacity for the vehicles. While a project team may manage these considerations, they are not typically managed by a single person. What if we could do more without having to move design concepts back and forth between disciplines and the different technologies in use by each?

In Race we unleash creativity by recognizing that individuals working in small teams are the ultimate source of value, and creating an environment where experiments are encouraged. We provide our clients with low-resolution prototypes for early feedback; we “demo or die.” We pursue innovation with empathy, visualization and experimentation. Our designers and engineers reduce the diversifiable risk by making small experiments to test our hypotheses. The whole idea is that we factor in the process the opportunity to walk away.

We approach horizon-1 and 2 innovations through inductive or deductive reasoning and analysis or synthesis. We approach horizon-3 innovations by using our abductive reasoning and by embracing the project’s ambiguity.

Innovating, not innovation; verb, not noun.
Innovation all depends on the quality of the conversations.

Tags: for clients