Innovation in real estate development projects: the value of standardization

Innovation involves incorporating new ideas that generate changes to help solve the needs of a company and increase its competitiveness. In the construction industry, the application of innovation its not simple, despite the importance of this particular sector. Every development project is different, hence real estate companies have to adapt their processes and resources to suit each project’s needs. 

In addition, multiple factors come into play, such as the place where the project is located, the team and other external factors that cannot be controlled such as the climate, which make each project unique.

Typically innovation is undertaken on a one-off basis, and it does not necessarily benefit the company as expected unless it is possible to incorporate it into the organization's standard management processes.

Innovation has to be a process that can be managed, measured and controlled systematically focused on long-term gains. Consequently, the standardization of innovation becomes critical. The key lies in considering innovation as a management process. Each part of the organization can control and improve different aspects of innovation and integrate them into the rest of the company's processes.

Innovation in the real estate development industry can be standardized as long as it is treated as a process. This process consists of the following stages:

  • Identification of the need and opportunity for innovation: This stage is heavily influenced by the scope, complexity and difficulty of the project, as well as market demand, business opportunities, legislation, access to new technologies, and so on.
  • Selection of innovative solutions at a particular development project: The assessment of innovative alternatives must take all project and company objectives into account.
  • Development of innovative solutions in a particular development project: The adoption of a technological or organizational advance requires the commitment of the entire organization, the innovation team and the wider project site team. This stage is essential since it involves adjusting scheduled activities to the real situation.
  • Assessment: the team and the company must continuously assess whether an innovation project's objectives have been fulfilled.
  • Transfer to future projects: in order for the results to be exploited, it needs to be successfully transferred to other real estate development projects. The innovation process terminates when it is learnt, encoded and re-applied.
Written By
Angie Lotumolo