MORE than 70 delegates from a wide range of regional and national organisations worked together to solve real-life challenges in the construction sector.

The second Digital Construction Innovation Day was organised by regional IT champions Dynamo North East and IT consultancy Waterstons, and hosted at Northumbria University’s Sandyford Building in Newcastle.

Dawn Dunn, Innovation Manager at Dynamo North East, said: “We were delighted with the attendance at our second Digital Construction Innovation Day, and it was inspiring to see people from so many varied companies and organisations working together toward common goals. It was a day of genuine collaboration, energy and ideas.”

“Some of the solutions from our inaugural day have moved to the next stage, and I would hope some of the imaginative yet practical solutions arrived at during this year’s workshops will also become reality.”

The challenges tackled by the delegates were:

• What can construction learn from other sectors?
• How can we help organisations build the right skills so digital strategies can be effective?
• How can residents of buildings make better use of their building’s data to improve their environment?
• How does the construction sector look beyond cost and towards outcome?

Delegates were split into teams to work on the challenges, and then presented their findings at the end of the busy day.

Delegates were then invited to choose what challenge had been best tackled. It was decided the team working on the challenge around making better use of residents’ and buildings’ data to improve their environment had come up with the best solution. The team’s idea was a ‘Property Passport’ that would be developed as an app.

Charlie MacDowall, Digital Client Relationship Manager at Northumbria University, said: “The day went really well and for so many people from so many companies and organisations to give up a full day in their busy schedules was impressive. It showed a commitment and enthusiasm for collaboration in the construction sector.

“The range of representatives present – from folk from Sir Robert McAlpine to the NHS and from large IT companies to small start-ups – meant there was a diversity of perspectives which produced genuinely interesting and unique ideas and solutions.

“It was also fascinating to see the different approaches. The groups weren’t a uniform size and some had an Agile approach, while others had a less structured, more conversation-based approach.

“I was impressed by all of the solutions and look forward to seeing where they might go.”

Tom Jarman, Senior Business Consultant at Waterstons, said: “It was a lively day and I was impressed by how engaged people were. All of the teams took the challenges really seriously and the solutions were thoughtful, ambitious, imaginative but realistic.”

Dawn Dunn added: “Delegates came from the digital, construction, manufacturing sectors, as well as the health and education sectors. Our first Digital Construction Innovation Day set the bar high and once again delegates have shown what real collaboration looks like. Once again, we’ve shown that working together we can solve real-life problems.

“I’d like to thank Waterstons and Northumbria University for their invaluable help, advice and support. Roll on next year!”

The day was closed by Prof Rebecca Strachan, Deputy Faculty Pro Vice Chancellor, Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University, who congratulated delegates on their work.

Dynamo has more than 150 members made up of IT organisations and employers, technology hubs, universities, colleges and local government. It works to grow the region’s IT economy through promoting the region as a hub for the enterprise IT sector and has a mission to increase collaboration, innovation, skills and ‘noise’ to grow the region’s IT economy. Dynamo is part-funded by the ERDF.

WORKING TOGETHER … left to right, Tom Jarman from Waterstons, Charlie MacDowall, from Northumbria University, Dawn Dunn from Dynamo and Marnie Mather from Waterstons

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