Turner Construction Company Holds Sixth Innovation Summit

March 30, 2021

The virtual Innovation Summit brought more than 1,500 Turner staff together with business and industry thought leaders to explore the theme of “5 in 5: Five Innovative Trends that Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn Within Five Years.” The event explored the trends of virtualization, connectivity, big data, robotics / automation, and artificial intelligence.

The Innovation Summit is one of the ways Turner responds to the ever-evolving construction industry. The annual event brings Turner colleagues together with innovation leaders to exchange ideas and learn about innovations at Turner, within the building industry, and beyond.

“The 2021 Innovation Summit was arguably our most ambitious as a company,” said Jim Barrett, Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer. The virtual format gave us the ability to bring in dynamic speakers from around the world and allowed us to convene as a company in greater numbers than ever before.”  The multi-day event featured 22 interactive sessions exploring the innovative trends of virtualization, connectivity, big data, robotics/automation, and artificial intelligence.

Keynote presentations from future-of-work strategist Heather McGowan and the Jobs-To-Be-Done author Jim Kalbach explored the importance of life-long learning and human-centered innovation in response to the rapid changes facing society. Construction technology expert and JBKnowledge CEO, James Benham and Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph explored ‘disruptive innovation’ and emphasized innovations role in sustaining successful companies.

Attendees learned how mixed reality technology is transforming education at Case Western Reserve University from Cat McAllester, Senior Director of Engagement & Special Projects. Gary J. Foreman, Chief Technology Officer at NextWave Safety Solutions, Inc. presented on immersive virtual reality for construction safety training. And Ben Ferrer, Turner’s National VDC Director provided a hands-on augmented reality demonstration.

Ivo Stivoric and Suresh Vishnubhatla, senior leaders at X, The Moonshot Factory shared their tips for taking moonshots and a rare peek at some of the innovation lab's current projects. Dr. Burcin Kaplanoglu and Frank Malangone of Oracle Industry Innovation Labs revealed how 5G will accelerate construction’s digital transformation. Lastly, Turner’s Information Services teams showcased technologies transforming the company’s ability to connect and collaborate.

Blogger and quantitative researcher Ben Wellington discussed the open data movement and revealed ways to leverage readily available data to affect real change. Michelle Killoran, Principal at OMERS Ventures provided a venture capitalist’s perspective on the skyrocketing property tech sector. Turner’s Human Resources, Operational Finance, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion teams showed how they are leveraging data for actionable insight, to improve forecasting, and drive predictive analytics.

Brian Ringley, Construction Technology Manager at Boston Dynamics detailed use cases for advanced robots like Spot® in construction. Ruedi Wagner, Hilti Group’s Head of Open Technology Innovation and Robotics discussed how jobsite automation innovations and wearable human augmentation technology like exoskeletons will help construction overcome the health, safety, and labor shortage challenges facing the industry. Lastly, Turner Virtual Design and Construction Manager Derek Rolfe detailed how drones deliver value across the project lifecycle and help Turner teams plan and execute work better.

Anna Topol, CTO at IBM Research showed how Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, and Blockchain are helping industries tackle the most pressing challenges of society. Josh Levy, Document Crunch Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor recounted the story of how his start-up came to be and shared his vision for a more risk-proactive industry. Attendees also learned how innovative business intelligence and artificial intelligence tools are helping Turner teams capture and analyze benchmark data and track production rates to keep projects on schedule and budget from Project Manager Dave Maynard.

The summit also featured three project showcase presentations focused on the topics of mass timber, resiliency, and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).

“Innovation is one of the primary means of bringing change and growth to people, organizations, and the communities where we live and work,” said Jennifer Downey, Director of Innovation. “In the past year we’ve accelerated the desire and willingness to innovate by five years. The Innovation Summit sets the stage for the next five years and supports our mission to be an innovation leader that creates meaningful new value for our people, clients, and stakeholders.”

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