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Exploring Big IDEAS for a Lean & Green Building Industry


In 2014, a modern day EXPLORER, Paul Hanley wrote a book on the monumental changes that are needed for Eleven billion people to occupy this marvellous planet at the end of this century. With optimism, Paul concluded we have the knowledge and systems needed for the sweeping changes that are needed to transform humankind in culture, agriculture and ultimately a new human race. [Eleven, Paul Hanley]

The seeping sweeping changes that are needed, need to start now and focus on the BIG wins if we are to sustain life on planet Earth. At the Build Saskatchewan Green conference, Auden Schendler challenged our communities to Get Green Done, “It’s not about building one #NetZero building it is about transforming the entire industry to reduce 35% of all GHG emissions.” Monumental changes are needed, but they are not as technically challenging as one would expect. We already know how to build NetZero building for no additional cost as demonstrated on the case study projects, listed at the end of this article.

The challenge then is not the technical component, but rather in the leadership and cultural change that is required

WHY we need EXPLORERS to enact BIG Wins

For answers on how to enact large scale change, I did some research and came across a very interesting paper on a type of people called EXPLORERS. The Deloitte Research team concluded that less that 12.3% of the workforce have the passion of the Explorer as defined by three attributes: commitment to domain, questing, and connecting. Each of these attributes leads to behaviours that drive sustained performance improvement and a disciplined commitment toward making an increasing longer-term impact. [3]

Commitment to domain helps individuals focus on where they can make the most impact. Having domain context enables an individual to learn much faster, allowing for cumulative learning. This commitment, however, does not imply isolation or tunnel vision. Quite the opposite: These individuals are constantly seeking lessons and innovative practices from adjacent and new domains that have the potential to influence their chosen domain. [3]

In the building industry domain, it is the influence of Lean Manufacturing as applied to Lean Construction that is the enabler of a NetZero building industry, as we can eliminate the perceived barrier that high performance building cost more.

Questing: The questing disposition drives people to go above and beyond their core responsibilities. People with the questing disposition constantly probe, test, and push boundaries to identify new opportunities and learn new skills. Resourceful and imaginative, they experiment with novel ways of using the available tools and resources to improve their performance. These types of leaders actively seek challenges that might help them achieve the next level of performance. [3]

The building industry has had many explorers on a quest for higher performance with-in the constraints of traditional budgets. Lean has enabled this quest to reach NetZero ready buildings, and that it not the limit, only the beginning.

Connecting. The connecting disposition leads individuals to seek out others to help find solutions to the challenges they are facing. Although networking—connecting with and learning from others—is commonly understood as an effective way to advance, those with a connecting disposition seek deep interactions with others in related domains to attain insights that they can bring back into their own domain. Workers driven by a connecting disposition build connections, not to grow their professional networks but to learn from experts and build new knowledge and capabilities.

By reaching out to the Canadian Construction Industry, the NetZero building team at Okanagan College were able able to create Lean Construction Institute – Canada, establish Communities of Practice across Canada and are ready to support the Green Building Industry to achieve the tough target of creating a #NetZero building industry.

EXPLORING a #NetZero Building Industry for Canada

As the government of Canada delays the Carbon Tax due to non conformance in meeting GHG targets, they should consider EXPLORING the opportunity to work with communities like the City of Saskatoon and implement a NetZero Building Programs. With building contributing to 35% of GHG emissions, this would be the single most effective program for fighting climate change, creating a BIG win.

In summary, EXPLORER Paul has painted a picture of a future with Eleven Billion People. EXPLORER Auden has explained that we need to think BIG and transform industries to Get Green Done. The #NetZero building EXPLORERS have developed recipes for delivering this challenging target at very little or no additional cost.

Now all we need is to explore this excellent opportunity commit to the domain of creating a sustainable future, pursue the quest for a zero carbon economy and connect with other leaders to make the shift. This will require setting sail into exciting new territories of technology, new thinking and cultivating Explorers with-in our communities. While billionaires like Elon Musk and Richardson Branson explore living in space and on the moon, just in case we screw up, the rest of us need to explore how to enact change with-in our own communities.

I look forward to working with EXPLORERS to create a NetZero Building industry.

Related articles on EXPLORING how Lean pays for Green

Lean Pays for a Green: A 2020 Vision for a NetZero Building Industry

Lean, What's in it for ME?

Why a 3 Pronged Approach to Lean

Murray Guy, @shift2lean , Connect on LinkedIn … Email

[1] Eleven, Paul Hanley

[2] “Getting Green Done”, Auden Schendler

[3] Passion at Work, Deloitte

[4] Integrated Designs/EcoSmart Case studies (NetZero Targeted 4 Residential Projects,Saskatoon, NetZero Mosaic Center, NetZero Okanagan College)

#greenbuildings #LeanProjectDelivery #leanconstruction #netzero

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