Students Provide Innovative Ideas for the Construction Industry at the Rotman Design Challenge 2019

20 February 2019 Kingspan Group
The Rotman Design Challenge took place on the 9th and 10th February 2019 at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Into its sixth year, the international design competition saw entries from 31 teams across 16 universities in the UK, USA, Canada and Spain. Students explored the topic of disruption in the construction industry and sought innovative solutions to move thinking beyond the status quo.
The Rotman Design challenge brings together top talent from MBA programmes across the globe to propose solutions to a complex business challenge posed by an innovative and forward-thinking sponsor. Students turned to data driven business models, new products and industry partnerships to solve the construction industries biggest questions. The challenge posed by Kingspan was:
Change and disruption in the construction industry is inevitable but where is it going to come from and in what form?’
The construction industry is entering a transitional period, experiencing rising material costs, rising labour costs, and labour shortages. At the same time, as the sector that is the top global consumer of raw materials, companies must address their threat to the environment. Achieving targets for carbon emissions reduction will be a major challenge at a time of global urbanisation. However, these challenges present great opportunity, and the companies who adapt to change will maintain a competitive edge.
These key challenges were addressed in the presentations and designs developed by the students in the Rotman Design Challenge. One noteworthy development was the emphasis on cutting-edge solutions that draw on inter-sector and inter-academic collaboration.
The winning team from Parsons School of Design challenged the status-quo by developing a technology platform that would allow development teams to determine the resiliency of a building to maximise its lifetime performance. With this platform a firm can calculate the materials cost up-front, taking into account trends that might influence the lifetime of a building e.g. climate change.
In second place was the team from Michigan Ross School of Business who proposed a venture capital arm to the business that would invest in start-ups in the technology sector, and other industries, to glean insights that might give rise to new product ranges and digital business models.
In third place was the home team from the Rotman Design School, who also looked at a technology platform to select building materials and offer users an “Amazon of construction”. The tool looked to decrease the amount of search costs for architects with saved and personalised preferences.

Commenting on the Rotman Design Challenge, Brian Glancy, Head of BIM Strategy for Kingspan Group said:
I want to congratulate the winners and all the teams who took part. The Rotman Design Challenge is an extremely inspired and innovative event. The students involved interpreted the brief provided by Kingspan with drive and ambition. The solutions provided plenty of food for thought as we move forward. Kingspan is committed to approaching the challenges of today and tomorrow with innovative strategies that will design the new solutions necessary for our business to continue to thrive. With the calibre of talent coming through it is clear the future of construction is safe.
As the world of construction continues to evolve and accelerate, companies need a strategic mind-set to tackle complex challenges and navigate uncertainty. Seeking new ideas from students ensures we embrace new ways of thinking and help develop the leaders of tomorrow.

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