System Services & Design

Construction by Neville Miles 2What we did

This Theme examined the design, integration and operation of complex systems, particularly in the infrastructure industries (e.g. energy, water, roads and urban environments). The objective of Systems, Services and Design was to generate theoretical concepts and frameworks to improve our understanding of these processes. We developed practical tools showing how different types of firms can grow successfully in these activities and markets by developing capabilities in design, systems integration and operational services. These were applied to the development of Heathrow Terminal 5, the construction of the London 2012 Olympic Park and to Crossrail.

For a full list of research projects in this theme, please visit the projects overview page.

Core Impact: Megaproject Management

This long-term relationship has been fundamental and integral to the successful progress of Laing O’Rourke’s strategic agenda which is transforming the Group into an Engineering Enterprise

– Paddy O’Rourke

Non-Executive Director

Working with Laing O’Rourke and BAA on the construction of Heathrow Terminal 5, ISC researchers conducted interviews, carried out leader workshops and analysed company performance to see how knowledge was shared across projects. The research showed that firm behaviour had to change and developed the Systems-Integration Model identifying six key processes to improve organisational performance, including the use of digital technologies to support design, and improved pre-production processes. This became a template which Laing O’Rourke used across its business, creating cleaner transitions from project to wider operational processes.

The model was then used in the construction of the London 2012 Olympic Park. Working with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and CLM (a consortium of Laing O’Rourke, CM2H Hill and Mace), the ISC project conducted interviews and examined innovation processes across all phases of the construction from planning and design, to construction, testing and handover. An ISC research report, identifying the project’s successes, was included in the ODA’s Learning Legacy Programme.

ISC researchers were then invited to run a project for Crossrail examining the mechanisms to support mega-project collaboration and develop a best practice framework for the infrastructure industry. This work contributed to the Crossrail Innovation Strategy which is being tested and applied across its sites.

To find our more about this work, please visit our project pages and watch our summary video.

[This Theme was formerly entitled Project Business Innovation]

Research Team 2003-2013

Theme Leader Dr Andrew Davies
Anna Canto Catelijine Coopmans Lars Frederiksen Martina Koberle-Gaiser
Samuel MacAulay Stefano Miraglia Jens Roehrich Ileana Stigliani
Florian Taube Jennifer Whyte
ISC Banner