At WSP how do we get Future Ready embedded into our project thinking? How have we been preparing ourselves to consider this unique and core WSP approach in all our 2019 commissions?
One way is our monthly Future Ready Innovation Labs. In highly interactive webinars our staff develop future ready thinking on responses to future trends – such as a future of low carbon energy, of changing security challenges, or of greater loneliness.
Some Innovation Labs review a live project, with staff from across our technical disciplines discussing how we could make it more future ready. Typically, we look to identify which future changes or trends are relevant to the project, to consider how these changes will affect the project over its design life and, in discussion with the client, to build responses to these trends into the project.
In each Lab our people contributed hundreds of ideas interactively using their smartphones. The projects we featured were already considering a future that will be very different from today, and our Lab participants came up with even more suggestions – ways to ensure long term resilience and value in a changing world.
From this wealth of ideas, Lab suggestions are now shaping the featured projects. On a large residential project our ideas are helping shape plans for community buildings so they are multi-use and promote long-lasting community. On a major urban roundabout redevelopment, good ideas on greenery and sustainable drainage are shaping how surface water is managed as client expectations evolve.
Decarbonisation, a major focus for us, also featured. Our Innovation Lab on "A future of low carbon energy" discussed alternative views for a lower carbon future, and generated ideas on the part battery and other energy storage can play as renewables become a dominant source of energy and electricity demand rises.
During 2019, in response to demand, we'll be opening up Future Ready Innovation Labs to selected clients. That demand tells us that Future Ready is absolutely the right approach and there is hunger for it, right across public and private sector clients. Clients see our Labs as a great way to experience first-hand how we in WSP are shaping our thinking, and to develop their own understanding about future trends, resilience, flexibility and value in an uncertain future.
By Martyn Crawford, Associate Director, Environment & Sustainability - WSP