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Download BD+C’s 2021 Design Innovation Report


Download BD+C’s 2021 Design Innovation Report

AEC and development firms share where new ideas come from, and what makes them click.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | November 9, 2021
Download BD+C’s 2021 Design Innovations Report

Have you wondered why some design ideas soar and others crash? Why clients embrace or reject a design concept? Whether your firm’s designs are trendsetters or followers?

To get answers to those and other design-related questions, Building Design+Construction polled the industry earlier this year, and received responses from 342 companies, most of which were architects, engineers, and contractors. The result of that survey is BD+C’s 2021 Design Innovations Report, whose 22 pages explore the complexities behind creating, pitching, and executing new ideas. 

The purpose of this report is to:

  • Uncover where AEC firms focus their efforts and how they stimulate new ideas;
  • Gauge how receptive owners and developers are to project ideas, and why;
  • Reveal which design trends—such as modularity, or the use of mass timber—are (or aren’t) catching on
  • Examine whether firms’ idea machines are keeping pace with the rate of change in business, lifestyle, and society.

Some takeaways from the report include:

  • The biggest factors that result in an innovation’s success or failure are cost, client buy-in, and communication;
  • Several typologies—offices, education, multifamily, healthcare—are glaring in their need for innovation, even as these same building types have been cited as design leaders in the past;
  • Contractors are often their clients’ gatekeepers when it comes to deciding which design innovations fly;
  • Mentoring and training are the primary catalysts within AEC firms for nurturing new ideas;
  • The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the need for design innovations, especially for indoor air quality and wellness.

The report makes clear that there’s no shortage of ideas or new products, and that “innovation” and “technology” are often thought of together. 


Download BD+C’s 2021 Design Innovation Report (short registration required)


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