Promoting Innovation in a Colombian Social Housing Construction Company

Jose Guevara1, Ana Ozuna2, Hernando Vargas3, Javier Prieto4 & Cesar Ramirez5

1Instructor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Universidad de los Andes, Carrera 1Este 19A-40, Edificio Mario Laserna, Bogotá, Colombia, ja.guevara915@uniandes.edu.co
2Instructor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Universidad de los Andes, Carrera 1Este 19A-40, Edificio Mario Laserna, Bogotá, Colombia, ap.ozuna1442@uniandes.edu.co
3Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Universidad de los Andes, Cra 1Este 19A-40, Edificio Mario Laserna, Bogotá, Colombia, hvargas@uniandes.edu.co
4Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Universidad de los Andes, Cra 1Este 19A-40, Edificio Mario Laserna, Bogotá, Colombia, hvargas@uniandes.edu.co
5Design and Construction Director, Urbansa S.A., Cra 12 98-35 Piso 5, Bogotá, Colombia, cramirez@urbansa.com.co

Abstract

Lean Construction (LC) and innovation have been two widely discussed concepts in the Colombian construction industry for the last few years. However, the relationship among the previous topics have not been properly analysed in the local context. The objective of the article is to analyse the importance of applying LC in terms of promoting innovation. The research method for the investigation has been the embedded single case study approach. The case study is developed in a social housing construction company called Urbansa S.A. Thus, how and why LC can boost innovation on Colombian construction projects are the research questions for this study. This is important because the Colombian industry can start to learn that Lean is more than measuring task times. Results show that applying concepts such as collaboration, transparency, workflow reliability, and pull production enhances innovation if the implementation is undertaken through a process-focused approach. New developments have been registered in the operation phase of housing construction projects. By finding that LC concepts have a direct impact on innovation, the construction industry might have an increased interest in learning about the true potential of LC for improving processes and delivering more client oriented products. Further work is required to develop a strategy for expanding the understanding of lean concepts at operational and management levels.

Keywords

Lean construction, innovation, housing construction, small wins

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Reference

Guevara, J. , Ozuna, A. , Vargas, H. , Prieto, J. & Ramirez, C. 2011, 'Promoting Innovation in a Colombian Social Housing Construction Company' In:, Rooke, J. & Dave, B., 19th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Lima, Peru, 13-15 Jul 2011.

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