Steve Jobs said, “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity—not a threat.”
Theodore Levitt said, “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”
Almost a hundred years ago, the great Thomas Edison knew the importance of innovation when he said, “There’s a way to do it better—find it.”
In our ever-changing, ever-evolving, and rapidly expanding world, innovation is the key to being successful in the world of business.
Innovation allows businesses to grow and stand out from the competition. There’s a reason the saying, “out with the old and in with the new,” resonates. Innovation is progress.
It’s also money.
Zooming in on the construction industry, advancements in technology and innovation in the building materials industry are changing the way businesses operate and the products they produce.
Innovation also forces those businesses operating in the construction realm to take sustainability seriously. And, in architecture and city planning development, the sky is the limit around innovation.
The Importance of Innovation
Consider these key benefits to innovation:
- Innovation fosters growth in a business and stagnation can be a business killer. Stagnation also directly impacts employee and customer investment, effectiveness and productivity.
- Innovation allows businesses to stay relevant, especially as customer opinions, wants and needs continue to shift, and more and more businesses saturate the market. “More than 570 new websites are created every minute.” Just think of what’s available out there right now and what’s going to be available tomorrow. As a business owner, if you don’t think that way, maybe you should.
- Innovation is a differentiator. It can be a distinct identifier to help a business stand out.
Businesses that fail to innovate face an uphill battle, but also risk being seen as outdated and old-fashioned. Businesses stuck in their ways will see a direct negative impact on their bottom line, struggle to attract new customers, or even lose their current consumer base, and feel like they just spin their wheels.
Innovation helps keep a business afloat and it expands potential for growth.
In a survey completed by The Boston Consulting Group, “79 percent of surveyed executives claimed innovation ranked among their top three business initiatives—the highest percentage since the survey began almost a decade ago.”
Innovative Building Materials
In the construction sector, many manufacturers specialize in products that have been around forever. While that might work for a select few, many are having a hard time standing out and building their identity. Meanwhile, innovative building material manufacturers, such as Evolve Stone, are experiencing a boom in business because they created something only they can offer.
Innovation of construction building materials isn’t new. Our ancestors knew that stone was a better building material for forts and castles than wood. When we fast-forward a few thousand years, we see the evolution of building materials such as concrete, synthetics, and metal.
In 2022, we now have smart buildings, huge urban populations to house, and opportunities to be more environmentally conscious and responsible at the forefront of the construction realm. Companies have a wide range of more innovative building materials at their fingertips, including:
- Cross-laminated timber — sustainable and resilient engineered wood that avoid burning fossil fuels.
- Rammed earth — compressed earth formed into houses or buildings, which is shown to be durable and readily available for larger-scale housing in developing countries,
- Pigmented concrete — reduces the reliance on harsh paints and sealants
- Light-emitting concrete – absorbs light and radiates it at night, saving in electricity costs during non-peak hours.
- Transparent wood — an alternative to glass and plastic
- Bamboo — a building material in certain parts of the world for thousands of years, we’re glad to see it become more mainstream.
- Thermoplastic carbon fiber composite — five times lighter than traditional metal rods, which saves transportation costs without compromising the structure’s integrity.
The current innovation environment, when it comes to building materials, highlights four key things:
- Sustainability—CEMEX Ventures notes, “Older building materials emit higher carbon emissions into the air, making it one of the main concerns to be challenged in the industry. By taking on a sustainable approach when developing materials, this can be highly durable and incorporate different technologies, such as capturing energy, capturing CO2, and eliminating pollution.”
- Cost-effectiveness— Challenging building material developers to lower costs without compromising products.
- Effect on the local economy and environment— Not only about creating jobs and using local resources, but also taking environmental factors such as emissions into consideration.
- Uncompromising design and creation—Being more cost-effective and environmentally aware should not suffocate architectural advancements or artistic design.
We’ve noticed many remarkable innovators in the construction and building material industries. We are excited to see what the future brings for these companies and those who support the innovation movement:
- CEMEX Ventures
- Evolve Stone
Creativity is thinking up new things, while innovation is doing new things.
Innovation fosters growth and prevents stagnation, which can be detrimental to a business.
It helps businesses stay relevant as customer preferences evolve and market competition intensifies.
Examples include cross-laminated timber, rammed earth, pigmented concrete, light-emitting concrete, transparent wood, bamboo, and thermoplastic carbon fiber composite.