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The relatively slow pace of infrastructure innovation and development is conditioned by the sheer size, complexity and uniqueness of each project. In contrast, other engineering domains create smaller, large production volume products. These lend themselves to many cycles of rapid prototyping during their innovation and development stages. Consequently, in comparison to infrastructure research and development, in these engineering domains, innovation can progress quickly. It becomes a crucial competitive capability.
However, infrastructure innovation is on the cusp of transformational change.
The convergent maturity of many new enabling technologies and capabilities in the IT, sensor, actuation domains and, crucially, of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of systems thinking and practice and of social learning, will enable future infrastructure innovation to benefit from rapid learning about prototype behaviour.
This lecture will outline the multiple, harmonised, learning journeys that must be travelled by the infrastructure profession if it is to realise the high value potential of these new techniques.
The ideas are at the heart of the concept for the £138m UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) announced in the March 2015 Budget.
Colin is Professor of Earthquake Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Bristol. He is the University Theme Leader for Future Cities and Communities.
He has 35 years’ experience of research and practice in complex infrastructure systems, with a particular interest in natural hazard impacts. He is a Trustee of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and currently leads a £4m research project for EDF that is providing experimental validation of the seismic safe case methodologies that are crucial elements of the AGR reactor life extension cases. He is using both projects as case studies in the £3.5m EPSRC-funded International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF) project in applying formal social learning principles to the transformation of the conceptualisation and delivery of innovative infrastructure business models.
Patrick is Professor of Systems Engineering at the University of Bristol, and Director of the Systems Centre. The Centre is focused on ‘Managing systems for enhanced performance’. His research focuses on systems thinking applied to complex engineering topics such as: infrastructure design, operations and management; uncertainty, risk, value and safety management and more recently systems for the built environment, resilience and sustainability.
Patrick is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and was for most of his career a Director of a large consulting engineering company: Halcrow, where he specialised in the design of offshore oil and gas structures. He was The Visiting Professor of Civil Engineering Systems at University of Bristol for 10 years 1995-2005. During this time he co-authored ‘Doing it Differently - Systems for Rethinking Construction’ which was awarded a Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), Gold Medal and Author of the Year in 2001. He is also a founding Coach of the International Council of Systems Engineering (INCOSE), Institute for Technical Leadership.