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6th conférence « Innovation and society » from Ecole polytechnique

Megaproject management: the nightmare is over! Learning lessons from the UK by Andrew DAVIES

Conference theme:

Large engineering, construction and infrastructure projects – such as airports, offshore oil and gas platforms or high-speed railway systems – are highly uncertain and notoriously difficult to manage. The biggest and most challenging type of infrastructure projects, with a total capital cost of $1 billion or more, have been designated megaprojects. Size matters because it is when they approach a billion dollars in value that performance begins to decline sharply, and projects become increasingly fragile. Cost overruns, time slippages and poor operational outcomes are common. Data on the performance of 300 global megaprojects, for example, found that 65 per cent with budgets larger than $1 billion in 2010 failed to meet their time or cost objectives.

This presentation examines how organizations responsible for three UK megaprojects – Heathrow Terminal 5, London 2012 Olympics and Crossrail – have made significant efforts to create a more innovative and flexible delivery model. This new approach recognizes that over the life of a megaproject, new and unexpected options for delivering it will emerge, including opportunities to take advantage of innovative new practices, processes and efficiencies made possible by new technology. Drawing upon the strategy literature, we argue that clients can develop the “dynamic capabilities” required to adapt plans, modify routines and innovate when new opportunities arise or conditions change rapidly and unexpectedly. Our research conducted between 2005 and 2015 identified the dynamic capabilities or simple rules to create a new innovative and flexible project delivery model.


Wednesday 4 th of november 2015, 6:15pm – 7:30pm
Amphithéâtre Becquerel, Ecole polytechnique

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