This week’s AGC convention in Honolulu is all about technology and the future, not just the construction industry’s, but America’s as well.
“You’re going to spend the rest of your life in the future,” said technology consultant Daniel Burrus, CEO, Burrus Research, in a Thursday morning plenary session (sponsored by McGraw-Hill Construction). He reminded attendees of the old joke about why windshields are larger than rear-view mirrors: because it’s more important to know what’s ahead of you than behind you.
But, Burrus says, the future is getting increasingly “cloudy,” so much so that companies who don’t embrace the dramatic possibilities of internet- (or cloud) based technologies will be left behind in the mere software-driven here and now. The “cloud” never gets full, he said, and allows construction firms to run their evolving virtual-building programs at less cost and greater efficiency.
Burrus said that technological change will transform, not just accelerate, the industry and the country from the information age into the communication age, where social media are the norm and what once were kids’ tools (like Xbox) will be used to solve complex social challenges—and build the buildings of the future.
However, better technology must be accompanied by genuine leadership skills, said seminar presenter Kelly Riggs, Vmax Performance Group. Companies must strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors by establishing solid business cultures and building trust with employees. Riggs told more than 200 attendees that the most successful companies will be those that impact the people who create the bottom line, not just impact the bottom line directly. “(A solid business) culture eats strategy for breakfast,” he said.
In its mix of workshops so far, AGC has obviously made a conscious choice at this convention to offer fewer but meatier sessions on risk, virtual construction, leadership, technology and life skills. The more than 1,700 attendees are also earning continuing education credits and learning jobsite practicalities—part of the convention’s take-home package.
Awards and networking aside, this year’s convention has achieved its goal of more focused educational outcomes for working contractors on many levels.