Construction and engineering are among the top five industries ripe for disruption according to research by PwC. Will innovation come from tech companies and startups, or could established firms be proactive? For Granlund, founded in 1960, innovation is a strategic essential and a core competency.
Granlund offers MEP design, property management services and software, energy, environmental and real estate sector consulting, construction management and supervision, and building management. It employs more than 1200 people in 27 locations in Finland and in its offices in Sweden, the UK, the UAE, and China. The company is known internationally for being in the vanguard of building information modeling and for real estate management software development.
Granlund thinks strategically about innovation
“The best way to evolve in the long run and to do it sustainably, both locally and internationally, is through continuous innovation. If we can do things smarter and more efficiently than others, we gain a clear competitive advantage,” says Pekka Metsi, CEO of Granlund*. The company invests around ten percent of its revenues in innovation and development.
Granlund has an organization and processes for internal innovation, and it collaborates systematically with startups. But to ensure that the inventive spirit remains its guiding force, the company has an innovation and development strategy.
Aarni Heiskanen has helped Granlund devise its innovation strategy twice; in 2017 and 2020. His tasks included planning and facilitating the process, helping organize concepts, and creating presentations of the outcome.
Making clients and users happier with the help of technology
The strategy is based on the company’s customer proposition: wellness for the property and the user. Hence, the use and users of buildings drive Granlund’s development efforts. “User orientation and collaboration are at the core of the strategy, and in that spirit, we involved the whole staff in creating the strategy,” says Tuomas Laine, Director of Innovation and Development.
“We can learn from the car industry about the rules of consumer business, production automation, and mass customization,” says Pekka Metsi. “The automotive industry is rapidly developing driverless cars. For operating properties, even if they don’t move that much, you need a lot of human work.”
Intelligent technology is an enabler, but the user experience is paramount in the innovation and development strategy. A good user experience means, for example, that a property improves its user’s well being, productivity, and even health.
Also read: The Most Innovative Company Will Win
*) The quotations are my translations from an article by Sanna Karppinen in Granlund’s ½ Done Magazine, January 2017. Read the article in Finnish.
The illustrations are by Aarni Heiskanen, AE Partners.