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HCI Webinar: The Role of Technology in Driving Sustainability and Positive Social Impact in the Construction Industry, with Michael Fortinberry

Updated: Jun 11

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Michael Fortinberry about the role of technology in driving sustainability and positive social impact in the construction industry. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!


Watch the episode here:


Quick Recap


Jonathan and Michael discussed their perspectives on sustainability and social impact, with a focus on the construction industry. They emphasized the importance of environmental sustainability, waste reduction, and improving worker wages and work environments. They also explored the potential of emerging technologies and innovations to improve productivity and address labor shortages in the construction industry. The conversation concluded with an agreement to explore broader sustainability and social impact issues in future discussions, and the importance of aligning workers' KPIs and goals with incentives to increase productivity and margins.


Sustainability, Social Impact, and Technology


Jonathan and Michael discussed their perspectives on sustainability and social impact. They highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability, waste reduction, and improving worker wages and work environments. They also briefly touched on the use of technology in recycling and the potential of 3D printing for building construction.


Exploring Sustainable Construction Methods and Innovations


Michael and Jonathan discussed the construction of a 9-story apartment building in New York City, with Michael explaining the off-site construction method led to increased efficiency and reduced costs. They also explored the role of technology in promoting sustainability and positive social impact in the construction industry. They discussed the use of pre-built and pre-fabricated materials, as well as the potential of innovative solutions like large, insulated Lego-like blocks for home construction. Jonathan highlighted the presence of many innovative products at the recent International Builder Show. They agreed to discuss sustainability issues further in a follow-up discussion.


Exploring Emerging Technologies for Construction Industry Productivity


Jonathan and Michael discussed the potential of emerging technologies and innovations to improve productivity and address labor shortages in the construction industry. They emphasized the importance of investing in people and reshaping the professionalism of the industry. They also discussed the challenges of managing labor, productivity, and work culture in the industry. The conversation concluded with an agreement to explore broader sustainability and social impact issues in future discussions. They also discussed the ongoing labor shortage and skills deficiency, suggesting the use of technology to track and improve worker productivity, and the potential for wage growth through performance incentives.


Aligning KPIs and Goals With Incentives for Productivity


Michael and Jonathan discussed the importance of aligning workers' KPIs and goals with incentives to increase productivity and margins. They agreed on the need for a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators in building a sustainable business. Michael emphasized the role of company culture, and Jonathan shared his life journey and the importance of creating workplaces where people can thrive. They both agreed on the need to improve reward structures and systems in certain industries to attract and retain workers.


Improving Worker Behavior With Transparent Compensation


Michael emphasized the importance of a transparent and frequent compensation model to influence workers' behavior, with the company culture being an integral part. He suggested that the system should be simple and directly correlated to workers' compensation to achieve desired behavior changes at the work level. He also stressed that a good incentive compensation system should be aligned with the company's culture to maximize success. Jonathan agreed with these points and indicated a desire to discuss further.


Technology and Sustainability in Construction Industry


Jonathan and Michael discussed the role of technology in driving sustainability and positive social impact in the construction industry. Michael noted that the industry is beginning to embrace technology at a rapid pace, with resources flowing into sustainable materials, safety, procurement structures, and building processes. Despite this, he pointed out that construction productivity remains largely stagnant due to the use of better environmental and safety processes. Michael highlighted the progress being made in recycling materials and connecting contractors to facilitate more cost-effective and environmentally friendly material delivery.


Listen to the webinar here:





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