The construction industry, which was deemed “essential” after the majority of industries shut down across the world because of COVID‑19, has had to scramble to protect workers from the new biological threat. That is why a consortium of Brightidea customers in the construction industry; Black & Veatch, DPR Construction, Haskell, and McCarthy Building Companies, have partnered to develop The NEXT: Construction Safety Coalition and Challenge, (NEXT: CSC), an open innovation initiative dedicated to finding the best ideas around health and safety on construction job sites during the current pandemic.
NEXT: CSC’s purpose is to identify solutions that will improve safety for the “next normal,” the shift in norms that the COVID‑19 pandemic has forced both the construction industry and the world to adapt to. By crowdsourcing safety ideas from companies, startups, and other innovators with construction‑specific expertise, the consortium will be able to quickly surface more nuanced and efficient solutions to the very unique problems that face the construction industry today.
“This virus, and future pandemics won’t wait for us to catch up,” said Steve Edwards, CEO of Black & Veatch. “The NEXT Coalition recognizes the opportunities that our companies’ collective scale and experience create to quickly begin sourcing, testing and launching solutions that can impact construction safety fast. To accomplish that goal, we needed to look outside of our own companies, hence the need for the open Challenge.”
Construction has always been interested in designing environments that are safe to operate. Before the pandemic, the industry continually moved towards reducing danger through automation, technology, and processes that mitigated risk. The current pandemic adds a layer of complexity to operations that requires serious thought.
The NEXT initiative is an open call to companies, startups, and innovators with emerging safety solutions that can be deployed and scaled quickly. The NEXT initiative is seeking to crowdsource ideas for ideas that have to do with helping provide safe working environments for workers and staff. With this initiative, every idea generated gets the construction industry one step closer to a safer future.
“The NEXT Coalition, also hopes to share some of their best practices with the rest of the world. “The Construction Safety Challenge is another example of organizations turning to crowdsourcing as the fastest way to generate reliable and vetted ideas for mitigating the impact of this pandemic. The solutions that come out of the Safety Challenge will surely be applicable to other industries as they start to open up and grapple with what the “next normal” looks like,“ says Matt Greeley, CEO, Brightidea.
As economies look to reopen and allow commercial activities to resume, all companies are re‑examining protections to make sure the safety of their customers and employees are a top priority. Many of our other customers, from LinkedIn to Markel to Quicken Loans to name a few, have run challenges to find solutions to the best ways to keep operating in a post‑COVID‑19 world. The ability to develop nuanced solutions tailored to your industry, geography, and workforce is incredibly hard to do in a vacuum. Safety solutions like these, that impact so many people, need to be crowdsourced and vetted by the people with first‑hand knowledge of the situation.
The Brightidea Innovation Management Platform gives the companies a cloud‑based portal for idea management, the ability to vet ideas through a panel of subject matter experts, and the transparency needed for open innovation. Ideas can be submitted from anywhere and anytime through a web portal, a mobile app, or by email. By pooling the collective experience of these industry leaders, the platform hopes to source protocols, processes, and products that help move the construction industry, and every industry, towards a safe and healthy future.