What is the best way to do R&D?
The PIA (Product Innovation in Architecture) has been trying to answer this question since its inauguration and I am not sure it is anywhere nearer a solution than when it started. My own perspective is that one major barrier to innovation in construction is that, unlike other industries, intellectual property rights are not part of the supply chain.
Individuals invent, so beware of committees designing camels. A redesigned horse is not an invention, it’s a design. Design is rearranging known components into a composition. Most intelligent people can do it, but in construction you train architects for seven years to hone the skills in this area of commerce. As in other industries the architect’s creativity can add considerable value and there many secondary markets trading on their expertise (insurance, pension and property funds, as well as estate agents). Not rewarding architects in the carbon trading market is an insult, but endorsing the standard practice of ripping them off for their innovations is a disgrace. This is why most architects continue to shun the housing sector and refuse to do robust standard details for somebody else’s benefit.