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Forming an innovative future with Michael Arnold

06.09.2017 | News
Interview with Michael Arnold, Managing Director of Doka in the United Arab Emirates.
As one of Doka’s most outspoken advocates for innovation and disruptive technology in the construction sector, could you summarise how you Doka’s investment in innovation is paying off?

According to our end of year report, 40% of our revenues were produced from products and services launched in the past five years, illustrating a clear correlation between our innovative products and systems and the supply/ demand curve with our clients. From a financial point of view, innovation is certainly paying off. I believe it’s extremely important that Doka’s innovation strategy is in line with our business objectives. There is no point in having innovative ideas that don’t support our ongoing business.

What is Doka’s approach to innovation and what is the most effective way of ensuring its success?

As a multinational, we are fortunate that the Doka Group provides us with many synergies, particularly when it comes to developing formwork and construction-based technologies. Our holistic approach to construction technologies means that the central R&D team is also dependent on the feedback received from our teams in the field. In order to gain clarity over the potential of our new ideas, we split them into three categories, specifically ‘Quick wins’, ‘Breakthrough’ and ‘Disruptive’. In each case, we have to answer the most important question, ‘How will this product or system add value for our clients?’

How do you communicate new technologies to your clients?

We use several avenues of outbound communication including third party media articles, conferences, open days and social media activation, but frankly speaking, our clients see the most benefit from practical examples and case studies of how the innovation fits into their day-to-day activities, and how it effects their competitiveness and or profitability. With this in mind, this became the driving force behind our office creating the Added Value Department. Its role is to clearly illustrate the benefits of our latest services and system solutions through a series of comprehensive case studies, allowing clients to grasp the concept of our products in a practical manner. As part of the process, our clients are encouraged to share their concerns and the challenges they face on site, allowing our Added Value Department to carry out in depth studies that lead to an idealised solution. During this process we highlight the cost saving potential. To date, once a client has tried our Value Added Solution, there’s no other way of doing business because the advantages are so transparent – it also becomes obvious at this stage that our innovations are necessary for our clients to compete and succeed in the market. In short, our Added Value Department translates innovative features into progress-based benefits.

Following an interview with the head of Doka’s R&D department last month, he stated that the real origin of change in the construction industry is digitalisation – would you agree and how can Doka’s products influence true change in the market?

It’s a good point – arguably the best proven example we have is Concremote, a digital real-time measuring system of in-situ concrete development, and a new standard to measure the early age strength of fresh concrete, effectively making early age test cubes obsolete. Launched in the market last year, we received the formal support of Dubai Municipality in November 2016, an endorsement that really accelerated the device’s popularity in the region.

As a point of comparison, I think of Concremote in the same way that smart phones revolutionised the digital way we communicate today. Once we achieve a higher level of sophistication, it’s very difficult to go back. For us, innovation is an ongoing methodology and Concremote is a great example of Doka creating a new standard throughout the industry. Once our clients tried it and saw the results, the new standard was set within their company. This was just the first step towards the digital breakthrough of the construction industry and many more will follow shortly.



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