Contributors to the Movement for Innovation’s first 24-hour virtual conference this week criticised clients for not joining in the debate.

The client-driven Movement for Innovation, which was set up to implement the Egan report, held the on-line discussion on Monday and Tuesday.

Contractors, consultants and specialists contributed to the issue of who should drive innovation before the debate, but on Monday only one construction client took part – the Ministry of Defence.

Symonds health and safety director John Carpenter sent out an on-line message asking for more client contributions on Monday night: “Are there any clients out there? So far we have only heard from the MOD.”

On Tuesday morning, movement chairman Alan Crane added: “The debate would certainly be more valuable if we were to get a wider viewpoint from the client … I would urge current existing virtual delegates to encourage their own clients and even contacts from other industries who have developed the concept of innovation further.”

Clients were more forthcoming on Tuesday. Those that made contributions included McDonald’s chief construction officer Richard Ogden, Boots’ store planning procurement manager Sean Johnston, and the DETR’s construction director John Hobson, who appealed for ideas for a clients’ charter.

One theme was that, although large clients such as the MOD accepted that best value did not equate with lowest price, this message had still not reached some one-off clients. The delegates agreed that the supply chain should be responsible for education and innovation.

Geoffrey Reid Associates architect Peter Runacres said: “Clients are often less willing to accept innovation; to be the first to dip their toe in the water. Thus I think that the supply chain should continue to innovate and push for change; change that benefits all.”

More than 150 delegates registered to take part in the 24 hour on-line conference.

In excess of 115 contributions were received, and more than 2500 users logged on to the Movement for Innovation web site. A review of the virtual conference will be published on the web site.

The next conference will be on 25 October, when the subject will be “Respect for People - What does it mean to you?”

Further conferences can be accessed by the web site through the Knowledge Exchange link.