Did the Recession Optimize the Whole?

“The crisis was wasted in the sense that it hardly mobilized the industry in the US toward change—although this is not true in other places like the UK and Singapore—but there are factors like margin-slamming that we simply can’t control.” Phil Bernstein, FAIA

“In hindsight, anybody could have done more, but be fair. The ‘waste a good crisis’ cliché sounds good as a headline, but in reality, a crisis can do as much to hamper innovation as spark it. “ Chris Leary, AIA

Prior to the recession, the pitch for IPD was to add 10-15% more value to a project by harvesting or eliminating waste. The team proposes a few reasons that the value proposition was no longer once companies slipped into survival mode:


As the recession hit, bidding became highly competitive and fees plummeted, obscuring the price advantage.


In the risky environment, owners became more conservative and less tolerant to experiment with new delivery models. Owners also became reluctant to on board a CM during design.


Advocates also got off the speaking, networking, and socializing circuit to focus on staying in business. Without the same degree of cross-fertilization, collaborative thinking shrank.

“At the same time, IPD continued to be part of the dialogue, more in the abstract than in practice, and it remains misunderstood in principle.” Scott Simpson, FAIA

This story is Part 2 of Tocci’s three-part reflection on Innovation in a post-recession industry. Enjoy the rest of the series:
Part 1: The Survivors are the Fittest
Part 3: Rebuilding an Innovative Industry

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