Understanding The Innovation Process in Design Projects

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
This study is an attempt to investigate the issues that influence innovation in design projects related to the construction industry. Thus, it focused on the early phases of design projects which usually begins by a client’s request and ends with detailed drawings or construction documents. During this phase, teams usually work in a systemized process that takes the design concept from one phase to the next one until it solidifies and becomes ready for implementation. In order to achieve an innovative design, project teams should be provided with the right work environment. Hence, the establishment of innovation culture throughout an organization is important to encourage innovation in project teams operating in the organization. After that, when a project begins, other issues emerge to play major roles in triggering innovation in the project team. The study began by exploring these factors in the form of a literature review. Then formed a conceptual model that links these factors with the design process to formalize an understanding of how innovation is affected in each phase, what triggers it and how to maintain it. To develop a better understanding, the study applied this conceptual model on real projects. The findings revealed that the organization culture plays a major role in preparing project teams for innovation. A conductive culture for innovation requires the management support through investing in expanding the company’s knowledge base, enhancing employees relations, and maintaining an enthusiastic atmosphere for innovation. After that, the role of the client, knowledge, team’s collaboration, and technology take effect on triggering and maintaining innovation. The client’s demand, team’s established knowledge, and participants’ relations had more influence than others in triggering innovation. On the other hand, utilizing technology, and sustaining healthy relations amongst the design team had more influence than other factors in maintaining innovation. Throughout the design process, project leaders should pay attention to these issues in order to achieve innovation in design projects.
innovation process, design projects, construction industry, project leaders