3 Ways Technology is Influencing Leadership Skills in the Transport & Infrastructure Sectors

3 Ways Technology is Influencing Leadership Skills in the Transport & Infrastructure Sectors

It has been predicted that we will experience more technological development in the next 10 years than we have in the past 100 years.

So how do we keep up?

Emerging technologies such as AI, Big Data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are rapidly transforming the world we live in.  These technologies are disrupting traditional business models, creating new opportunities, and enabling companies to improve their operations, enhance their customer experiences, and reduce costs.

Across Transport & Infrastructure we have already seen some amazing benefits. Traffic management, predictive maintenance and asset management, underground mapping for design and construction among many other, quite frankly mind-blowing, technological advancements.

And there is only more on the horizon, apparently “swarms of mini robots could build the tunnels of the future”.

However, while we have seen some great innovations, the industry – construction in particular – still has a very long way to go. The industry is below the UK average for productivity and has showed negative or little growth between 1997 and 2020. There are a whole host of factors which contribute to this, one of which is the slow uptake of new technology.

So in this new age of digital revolution, what are the key skills we need to look for when recruiting for our leadership teams?

1. Willingness to learn from experts

A great leader will want to surround themselves with people who know the things that they don’t.

Leaders must be able to navigate the complexities of the technology, understand its impact on their operations, and identify opportunities for innovation.

But you don’t need someone who has the blueprint, just someone with the willingness to educate themselves on how to get there and what skills they need to surround themselves with to make it happen. As a result, I expect that we will see a lot more companies bringing in Heads of Innovation or equivalent.

2. Collaboration

Trial and error is so difficult in our industries, there are very few clients willing to take the risk of adopting untested methods in their infancy for their projects. Add to this that construction is by nature, extremely fragmented and it is a huge challenge to adopt new ideas.

There have been enormous steps over the past few years to collaborate up and down the supply chain, and this will be absolutely key to making technology work for us.

Clients and designers need to involve contractors early on in the design phase, and work with technology suppliers to understand how new tech can be safely and efficiently trialled in a live environment to prove the concept.

3. Long term view

Many leaders in the sector are focused on delivering results today, given the tight profit margins and the cyclical nature of the industry.

This short-term approach often involves making decisions based on immediate payback rather than long-term horizons. However, incorporating new technologies requires a shift towards a more strategic, long-term perspective. This means considering the costs and benefits of technology investments over a sustained period and making decisions that will improve the company’s performance and competitiveness in the years to come.

Finding candidates with the leadership skills to navigate the complexities of emerging technologies and drive innovation within their organisations is a challenge. Contact us today to learn how we can help you stay ahead of the curve.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director