Over the coming decade, engineering firms will face significant challenges from both the external environment and from internal forces. Impacts from the external environment will be shaped by global risks (economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological), including how the clients of engineering firms respond to these risks. Internal challenges will include adapting to the aspirations, values, and needs of new generations of engineers and other young professionals that manifest as they join and build careers within firms. Engineering Change Lab – USA (ECL-USA) Summit 12 explored the potential impacts of these challenges.
In the first half of Summit 12, participants looked at the external landscape of the next decade. Discussions were informed and inspired by our provocateurs.
- Stephen Brockwell, Senior Product Owner for AEC at ESRI, outlined accelerating changes in digital practice for engineering firms. He described how digital tools utilizing machine learning, artificial intelligence, and generative design are allowing collaborative teams of engineers, cloud computing service providers, intelligent machines, clients, and contractors to innovate design and construction projects and processes.
- Martha Rogers, Natural Capital Economist at The Nature Conservancy, reminded participants of growing environmental challenges that society and the clients of engineering firms will face in the future. She challenged participants to consider that nature-based solutions can provide significant means for meeting the challenges of biodiversity loss, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, population and economic growth, and providing for society’s food and energy needs. Nature-based strategies can be particularly important for the private sector by offering innovative, cost-effective solutions that work as synergistic elements of business strategies.