During Morrissey Goodale’s Texas and Southern States M&A, Strategy and Innovation Symposium, attendees heard from CEOs of some of the industry’s top firms about how they are approaching strategy and strategic planning. The conference was held in Houston, TX, October 11–12, 2022.
On October 11, BST Global Chief Executive Officer Javier A. Baldor joined a panel titled “Innovation – from concept to market,” where executives from some of the industry’s most innovative firms discussed how they foster innovation, decide which new ideas to advance and which to shut down, and how they bring new products and services to market.
Javier was joined by fellow panelists Carla Johnson from Earthvisionz, Veronica V. Waite from Walter P Moore Technology, and Rex White from AECOM. Stafford Palmieri, a principal consultant with Morrissey Goodale, moderated the session.
All parties provided insight on how they fostering innovation and incorporate new technology advancements into their processes. During Javier’s remarks, he discussed how the AEC industry has remained fundamentally unchanged for the last three decades, and how firms instead need to foster smart, data-driven consultancies centered on leveraging project intelligence™.
Additionally, Javier spoke about the importance of democratizing firm data:
“I strongly believe we need to fundamentally change the historical data paradigm, whereby data only flows one way: up from staff to leadership for management reporting. This should be replaced with a smart, data-driven model that democratizes data for all. Professionals at all levels in this new paradigm personally benefit more from the data they are being asked to enter and have the opportunity to be empowered by this smart data. I truly believe that democratizing your data is the key to successful ‘digital workforce of the future’ initiatives.”
Create a big-data strategy that allows you to mash data across different dimensions, and leverage artificial intelligence to derive predictive insights. Then, allow that data and its insights to flow to all firm professionals.
Another key point Javier made was around the consumerization of software:
“No one teaches you how to use an iPhone, you just figure it out. We have to make systems and solutions that are consumer-grade, intuitive and easy to use if we expect today’s digital-native workers to adopt them. Today’s workforce expects technology similar to what they use at home, such as Meta, Instagram and Netflix. The tools you use in business says a lot about your firm. Hence, to be a modern consultancy, you need the equivalency of an iPhone.”
Javier also discussed how innovation is tied directly to your relevance:
“If you are not innovating, you are not relevant, which is a dangerous place to be. You don’t have to look far for talent either. Oftentimes, you can find talent right within your own walls. It’s important to unlock the talent within your own organization. For example, at BST Global, an employee was running data models on the weekends for fun. Now, he’s officially on our AI & Analytics team. If employees have a passion for something, it’s important to capitalize on the opportunity.”
Lastly, Javier emphasized the importance of leadership to drive a culture of innovation — not only in words, but in actions:
“We must move beyond the notion of principally accounting for projects to fostering and creating a data-driven consultancy of the future. Think of it like moving away from a flip phone to an iPhone when managing projects and people in the AE space. You must be data-driven to inform your teams and predict project outcomes.”
BST Global appreciates the opportunity to participate in events like these, and looks forward to future engagements. Check out our Events page to find out where else we’ll be — we’d love to see you at some of our sessions!