Sustainability ambitions are relatively easy to make, but worth nothing if you don’t know the actual options for your products and services. In the construction ecosystem, we’re seeing several examples of circular differentiation potential. Brick manufacturers, for example, are applying prefab brick slip structures to boost exterior insulation potential and decrease material usage. Contractors are moving from full building demolition to skeleton conservation and revalorization. We also see that glass innovations with photovoltaic layers are turning traditional building energy provision upside down.
We believe that there’s a card to play in any material category and for every organization involved, no matter the role it plays in the construction ecosystem. Some will benefit most from transforming to performance-based business models. Others will find maximal potential in a subtle, incremental change in for instance material usage instructions allowing installers to lose less material on site. We’re experts in helping you to explore your horizon and define your most profitable circular options in an efficient way.
Untapped innovation potential
With productivity growth only at about 30% of the overall economy average, a low-digitalization speed and persistent risk aversion, the construction sector is generally not considered innovative. This also explains why the sector is struggling to respond to the highly transformational sustainability claims. With 40% of the European CO2 emissions, governments are intensifying their carrot and stick game to incentivize the ecosystem to set the right course.
Nevertheless, it will be up to the individual players to understand which product and service innovations yield the highest potential for them. Energy efficiency and material circularity should be embraced as new innovation requirements. Even though these parameters are still harder to quantify than traditional top and bottom line growth, we believe it’s only a matter of time before sustainability externalities become a direct P&L driver. The time is now to prioritize the right product and service innovations for your organization.
How Verhaert boosts the process
One of our clients is a multi-billion building material specialist that thrives through application-specific engineering and product-centric innovation. When they asked us to concretize innovative, sustainable growth avenues in a limited amount of time, we activated our multidisciplinary pressure cooking approach to land 5 new potential service packages in less than a month. We compared these packages in terms of expected material efficiency gain and uplift in customer intimacy and profitable growth, allowing the client to prioritize its go-to-market efforts going forward.
Our pressure cooking approach in 5 steps:
We start with a 360° scan of the current sustainability opportunities and challenges for your products and services. We avoid deep diving, but encourage broad screening and changing the lens to build a fertile soil for new ideas. We also use the scan to set the decision criteria for step 3. Step 2 is all about going wild! We fuel the group’s imagination with our tools and games to avoid dull moments and feasibility worries. In no time we land a considerable amount of promising innovation ideas that we rank against the decision criteria in step 3.
In step 4, we select the highest scoring ideas and turn them into pretotypes: tangible conceptualizations without the burden and cost of full-fledged development. In the final step we collect genuine customer or user validation on these pretotypes. We translate this feedback into go/no-go/tweak decisions in function of further development of the new products or services.
In our next blog-post, we will inspire you on how we maximize your price premium on circular products and services in the construction ecosystem. Looking forward to connecting with you on this fast-evolving topic! Don’t hesitate to reach out.