What can major projects do to shift their practices? See the report and presentation from Will Goode at the Major Projects Association Annual Conference 2018.
This year’s MPA Conference highlights included Lord Heseltine stressing the importance of a strong pipeline of projects, allowing some to fail and, accepting that, then replacing the failures with new projects and supporting those that succeed. This sounds similar to the 4Ex model that the Resilience Shift has adopted to guide the development of our portfolio of projects over time – see our ideas pipeline.
Claire Durkin from The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) spoke of the importance of UK companies and UK government communicating and working together to address global challenges and global opportunities. There was also a stimulating discussion on the use of professional institutions to communicate news and ideas from research to the practitioner community.
Dr Anita Sengupta (pictured above right) talked about her involvement in start-up Virgin Hyperloop One who have built the world’s first hyperloop test track in the Nevada desert. She also highlighted the importance of flexibility and modularity being built in to prepare for the unexpected. All characteristics of resilient systems.
Will Goode’s workshop session explored the link between major projects and critical infrastructure resilience and how we might shift major project practices to safeguard society’s critical services.
His introduction explained how the Resilience Shift is trying to shift the focus of professionals from infrastructure assets to systems, the challenges of efficiency versus resilience and the importance of resilient systems continuing to deliver critical services in the face of unexpected shocks and stresses.
We define the Resilience Shift as a global initiative to catalyse resilience within and between critical infrastructure sectors and fittingly, Dr Martin Barnes CBE, Former Executive Director of the Major Projects Association also used that term when defining the nature of major projects:
“Major projects are so complex that they require cross-disciplinary collaboration of the highest order – within and between companies and cultures – before they can be implemented successfully.”
The link between resilience and major projects is clear. In one way or another, MPA members contribute to the delivery and successful operation of critical infrastructure systems every day, and we know these systems will be subject to unexpected shocks and stresses.
At the Resilience Shift, we believe that an awareness and understanding of the tools and approaches that can make a resilient approach more practical/tangible/relevant, might be a good thing for all those involved with major projects. Wherever their decisions and actions contribute to the project lifecycle they will have the opportunity to add ‘resilience value‘.
30 MPA Conference delegates participated in an exercise to identify potential drivers of change that might impact major programmes in the short, medium and long term. Participants then committed to a variety of immediate and long term actions to increase resilience in response and captured in an informal wallchart grid.
You can read Will’s presentation here.