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Q&A with Colin Tattam | i3P

Colin Tattam is the Knowledge Transfer Network’s Director responsible for programmes in Transport, Energy, Built Environment and Urban Living. He is leading on the development of i3P.

What is i3P?

The Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform is hosted by the Knowledge Transfer Network and its ambition is to become the ‘go-to place’ for collaborative innovation across the infrastructure and construction sector. I3P is a client-led organisation that was launched during October 2016 with 7 client members and 15 supply chain members, it is an initiative with strong support from both the Construction Leadership Council (co-chair Andrew Wolstenholme) and the Infrastructure Client Group, chaired by Andy Mitchell (Tideway) who is also the initial chair of i3P.

Where did the idea for i3P come from?

I3P builds on the success of the Crossrail Innovation Platform ‘Innovate18’ which brought together its Tier 1 contractors and consultants to share ideas, try new things and develop innovative solutions for the project. Crossrail’s enlightened CEO, Andrew Wolstenholme, drove the initial model forward and encouraged new behaviours and a culture to ‘pinch with pride’.   That programme delivered significant value and was a huge success for Crossrail, it’s legacy is that the approach is now active across a large cross section on the industry and i3P is positioned to extend its reach across both tactical solution development and strategic innovations that drive longer term value and growth.

Why is it needed?

Large infrastructure projects come and go. If we focus on tactical innovation to benefit one project then we are winning only part of the game. I3P is an investment in the future for better programmes across the sector, programmes that actively develop and adopt new technologies, approaches and capabilities that deliver success in the short term and a foundation for increased productivity and growth longer term.

What are the challenges that i3p is looking to solve?

As a sector, we need to be better at articulating clearly our challenges and opportunities; this, coupled with a focus on collaboration can drive a shift from tactical to strategic progression. For the sector to move forward and grow we want to see more exporting of our capability, not just in the UK. We need to be doing things better, faster, cheaper, more sustainably, smarter, and more digitally enabled. To remain competitive, we need to do this ahead of the international competition. I3P is about finding and deploying innovative solutions quickly before moving on to the next.

What technology are you most excited about?

Our strategic themes include manufacturing construction, digital transformation and overall asset lifecycle performance. Within these fall a whole host of new technologies with significant potential for our sector: smart design and manufacturing, smart materials, robotics and artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous devices and technologies that are wearable.

What do you see as the benefits Indigo& can provide?

Indigo& simplifies the process for big corporates and clients to engage with new and scale-up businesses. What excites me the most is pulling together the not-so-usual suspects, embracing different enablers and different disciplines. I think the infrastructure industry can have a propensity to predefine the solutions rather than being agnostic about where the best solution may be found.

What changes is your organisation facing that it didn’t face 10 years ago?

The Tier 1 companies have always been competitive. I3P is facing the challenge of forming collaborations between clients and many competitors, and getting them to worry less about intellectual property. The infrastructure sector can move forward better and faster by solution sharing together.

What do you think the biggest changes will be in the sector in the next 10 years?

The biggest changes will come from an awakening ambition in the industry, and a commitment to invest more in research, development and innovation to accelerate that growth curve. If we can demonstrate what success we can drive for ourselves, and more clearly articulate to government where their help can significantly accelerate our progress then we will be transforming the future of the sector and critically underpinning the future prosperity of the UK.

What are the big barriers that you would like to see Indigo& address?

Indigo& is addressing some of the challenges infrastructure projects face: contractual arrangements, limiting liability, managing risk…

Which do you prefer. LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram:

Professionally – LinkedIn. And I should do Twitter…

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