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I recently completed a detailed survey of technology programs at the Top 500 construction companies in the United States.

There’s hopefully something in here for building contractors looking to form a new technology group as well as startups looking to approach what can be an opaque and unwieldy market.

As someone who’s helped form innovation groups at a number of ENR Top 25 companies, this survey was an informative look at just how far the construction world has come.

There’s many challenges and opportunities in an industry that’s ranked among the least digitized in the world. The encouraging news is that there’s been a lot of progress towards embracing emerging technologies throughout the construction lifecycle over the past several years. …

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Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Today’s enterprises contain hundreds of small applications that operate in an environment that can feel like software overload — a recent study by Okta showed that nearly 10% of businesses have more than 200 applications in their enterprise information technology ecosystem, with an overall average of around 130 applications.

This has been great for corporate innovation since it has allowed enterprises to take a more lightweight and diversified approach in their digital strategy. It has also trended with a healthy startup ecosystem that thrives on well defined value propositions to address specific business needs.

All in all, a good development!

However, the modern application portfolio creates new challenges for the traditional information technology function. …

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Do you know what jumpstarts an innovation program? It’s not an accelerator or business incubator or lavish new research hub. It’s not design thinking courses or business model brainstorms.

All of those can — and have — been used to great success.

There’s an activity that’s more fundamental than that that the best innovation leaders do early. And it involves searching for a latent resource that exists within every enterprise and that will make or break your program.

I’m referring to identifying change agents. These are the employees who will provide impetus and sustain momentum for lasting organizational change. …

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Photo by Lei Jiang on Unsplash

Covid-19 has changed many aspects of our personal lives. It has also changed many organization’s operating models and increased the emotional stress that frontline employees experience daily.

Neuroscience shows that stress corrupts our thinking brain and increases the opportunity for quality and safety mistakes as people are more distracted by the direct and indirect consequences of Covid-19.

Many technology trends that predate our current conditions were ready-made for widespread adoption. This is especially true for businesses and companies with large field workforces that have historically faced unique challenges when it comes to technology implementation and adoption.

As of now, daily health check screenings can be done remotely by personal devices notifying employers of any symptoms or illnesses prior to leaving home to commute to work. Heat cameras and testing equipment have been installed in brass alleys and work entrances to measure temperatures and report any findings to ensure safety of the workforce. Drone flights have been used for site inspections and progress updates to limit the number of unnecessary personnel at work locations. Mobile applications have been used to request materials, tools, equipment, and PPE; allowing project warehouses to prepare and deliver material without the requirement of face to face interactions. …

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Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash

This is not an article about how early stage B2B startups should approach enterprise customers. Although this hopefully helps, there’s lots of good information out there already on that topic.

This article is about the other side of the coin — how enterprise customers can approach early engagement with promising yet unproven technology startups and how they can be successful in that process.

Start with a definition.

To start, let’s define “pilot success” here in a specific way: success is whether the pilot provides something newly valuable to you, the enterprise customer.

This can include the obvious: finding a new product that all parts of your business use. But it can also include new learning about an emerging technology, new insights into an existing business process, or new technology leadership from someone in your organization. …


Nate Fuller

Managing Director at Placer Solutions LLC. Previously helped create Technology & Innovation programs for ENR Top 25 companies.

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