Home Featured Global Public Affairs Launches the Infrastructure Lab

Global Public Affairs Launches the Infrastructure Lab

written by Chris Webster July 27, 2015

Platform to Share Ideas and get Better Value from Infrastructure Investment

With billions of dollars in spending promised over the coming years, collaborative problem-solving is critical to successfully delivering, maintaining, and operating infrastructure. The Infrastructure Lab, a Global Public Affairs initiative, invites Canada’s infrastructure stakeholders to join together to share challenges, and find solutions. To look for small improvements that will bring major gains. To seek out innovative approaches from unexpected places. And to develop exciting new ways of thinking.

The Infrastructure Lab enables working partnerships between infrastructure stakeholders by directing discussions on a variety of research themes with the goal of delivering greater benefits and value for our sector, and for the communities in which we work.

“Canada has a good track record as an innovator in infrastructure, but there is a need and the potential to do things better. The best way to achieve this is through openly collaborating and sharing ideas. We want to hear how approaches in the water sector might be applied to transit, and how lessons on mega-projects in the UK can be applied to Canada. I am excited at the potential of the Infrastructure Lab in bringing expertise together to deliver real improvements for infrastructure in Canada,” said David Caplan, chair of the Infrastructure Lab.  

Meeting the Challenge

The focus for the Infrastructure Lab is collaboration. The infrastructure gap in Canada is estimated to be anywhere from $50 billion to $570 billion. To close this gap and build a country ready for growth, and one prepared to face future challenges, governments at all levels have made major funding commitments and have announced a broad range of new projects. At a time of rapid change and innovation, our sector has to continuously improve in order to get the best value out of our government’s investments. The Infrastructure Lab provides a forum to do this by applying collective insight to the challenges we face every day.

Major gains can be made by exploring different approaches. For example, McKinsey & Co. estimates that productivity improvements in infrastructure could deliver 40 per cent in savings for global infrastructure expenditure annually. That 40 per cent figure may be a global total, but illustrates the potential for improvement, and the scale of the opportunity for Canada if that savings were to be reinvested into funding more projects. While efficiency and productivity is something we all strive for, it’s through the sharing of best practices that we will be able to learn and improve.

First Research Project

The Infrastructure Lab’s first project is called Amplifying Community Benefits: Supporting Local Suppliers. This will look at how to help more local companies get involved in major infrastructure projects. This research is supported by Quebec software and services company Cognibox and will look at what has been done to date to encourage local participation, and will bring together organizations to learn from their approaches.

“We know that governments around Canada are making major investments and they want to see the biggest possible benefits in their communities. We are excited to see what approaches organizations across Canada and elsewhere are taking to make it easy for local companies to play a bigger role in these massive projects. We then want to highlight how those lessons can be applied elsewhere,” said Anne-Sophie Tétreault, Senior Expert, Cognibox.

Future Research Projects

The Infrastructure Lab is working to develop a number of research themes, as well as host discussions with experts from Canada and around the world. There many challenges to address and even more good ideas to share, so over the coming months we’re excited to launch a series of new research themes. Keep in touch, and stay tuned.

Interested in Partnering with the Infrastructure Lab?

If you have a challenge that you would like to tackle, or an idea you would like to explore, we are keen to hear from you. The Infrastructure Lab works with companies and associations to develop research themes and programs that can deliver different approaches that benefit all.

Reference

http://www.chamber.ca/media/blog/131218-The-Foundations-of-a-Competitive- Canada/131218_The_Foundations_of_a_Competitive_Canada.pdf
http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/infrastructure-productivity

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