Take advantage of the innovation opportunities when building new

Municipalities and regions face a number of challenges in the coming years. The Swedish Municipalities and the County Council (SKL) write in their October 2019 financial report that efficiency is one of the most important tools for municipal operations to manage the increased costs. At the same time, there is a great need for investments in, for example, properties such as schools, elderly homes and hospitals.

Building new provides an opportunity to create buildings that can both meet the municipal challenges of the future and provide conditions for creating innovation in working methods and thereby a more efficient public sector.

However, building new in the public sector is a time-consuming task, which often means a period of almost ten years from the first decision to the completed building. The implementation is usually in project form with a great focus on cost and time. Cost estimates are made based on what we know today and the drawings are based on the working methods we know. Thus, we build more or less the same buildings as we always did. Efficiency will be limited and the financial burden will instead be greater through depreciation and loans.

Ekan Management's experience in running large and long projects in both the public and private sectors has given us three insights that we believe are crucial for Sweden's municipalities and regions to be able to use new buildings as effective catalysts for innovative leaps:

1. Create a vision that focuses on WHAT instead of HOW
The building and the operations are tools to achieve a vision. Therefore, it is crucial that early in the feasibility study we agree on a vision for the business. WHAT is it to be achieved? Get inspiration from businesses that are far ahead but evaluate the actual effects instead of the new ways of working. Also keep in mind that the HOW you are inspired by in the feasibility study may very well be obsolete when the project is complete.

2. Distinguish innovation from the construction project
The innovative process for creating the business of the future should not take place in the construction project but centrally. This provides two benefits. The cost control for the project increases and innovations can be validated and implemented in existing operations during the construction project.
At the same time, the project becomes an important requirement specifier for the innovation work based on the WHAT:s identified.

3. Involve the business but stick to the vision
Early involvement of the business in the work is a prerequisite for realizing the vision. At the same time, the vision must be monitored and maintained to create the conditions for taking the innovative steps. Early initiation of the change management and explaining the vision are therefore crucial to realizing the set goals.

Ekan management has long experience of supporting and managing complex projects with high goals in both the public and private sectors. We have a wide national and international contact network to find inspiration and skills to lead your organization all the way to tomorrow's reality.