The project of the future: The best ideas from the 2021 GII Summit

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Capital projects and infrastructure have always played a critical role as a foundation for a competitive and healthy business and living environment. Given the economic and public-health impacts of COVID-19, the importance of collaborating to deliver quality projects on time and on budget has only increased.

In April 2021, the Global Infrastructure Initiative (GII) convened its seventh global Summit, bringing together more than 500 leaders to discuss the project of the future during a post-COVID-19 recovery. This group, representative of the $11.6 trillion global infrastructure industry, plays a critical role in shaping the future of the industry.

The 2021 Summit highlighted an inflection point for the industry. While infrastructure investment continues to be seen as a driver for multiple outcomes, sustainability, digitization, equity, and talent strategy have collectively moved to the top of the agenda. Read the best ideas here:

Project development

  • Use infrastructure investment to drive multiple outcomes—jump-starting economies, enabling job creation, creating an inclusive economy, and building a foundation for future growth.
  • Prepare for new definitions and metrics for project success—incorporating decarbonization, sustainable materials, resiliency, and social equity.
  • Provide more long-term stability and visibility to infrastructure pipelines—long-term funding sources such as infrastructure banks, reinforced by national infrastructure plans with prioritized projects over a multiyear time horizon can help engage private capital.

Project delivery

  • Evolve from restrictive contracts to deeper collaborative approaches—building trust across the owner and project design or delivery team will improve project performance and reduce risk.
  • Engage owners in technology adoption—incorporating owner participation or use of technology throughout project design and delivery to ensure successful operations and maintenance. Technology providers need to do a better job of quantifying the benefits of digital adoption.

Digital and talent strategy

  • Move from experience-based to data-driven decision making—using shared digital, data, and analytics platforms, and collaboration across the value chain.
  • Attract and retain the required new talent—through workforce planning and by clearly communicating the industry’s role in society and an organizational commitment to sustainability, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The challenges and uncertainty experienced over the past year have had unprecedented effects on our industry. But this moment is not to be lost. The pandemic recovery has demonstrated what we can accomplish when we come together as a global community in a disciplined manner. Those organizations that step up their game now will be better prepared to confront future challenges—and contribute to building a more resilient, inclusive world.

Download the full report here.