QFD for product & business development

QFD as a Necessary Catalyst in Infrastructure Innovation

QFD as a Necessary Catalyst in Infrastructure Innovation

There is no silver bullet for improving the speed and effectiveness of public innovation. That said, the structured, transparent and integrating methodology of modern QFD could well be a key catalyst to significantly improve and accelerate innovation in the public domain.

QFD as a Necessary Catalyst in Infrastructure Innovation – Introduction

   Governments of all nations are faced with a host of infrastructure-related challenges that
are both substantial and complex. Some of these challenges are specific for certain regions, e.g. the reduction of severe food waste in developing economies, a problem leaving 842 million people go hungry every day. Some challenges spread across developing and developed economies, for example the struggle of developing cities to absorb the ongoing urbanization and autonomous growth of the population whilst ensuring an good quality of life and a minimal environmental/energy burden. To keep populations save and dry, existing levees have to be replaced by a new generation that is “erosion free” and able to withstand higher sea levels. Road safety has to improve despite higher traffic flows, the effect of an aging population and the increasing level of distraction of drivers due to feature rich cars that are continuously on-line. And to stick with the example of roads: not only road safety is an issue, these roads need to have a lower total cost of ownership, emit less noise, cause zero pollution to the ground water, allow higher traffic flows per square meter of road surface and so on. All buildings, private and public, must be re-invented in order to achieve maximum mental and physiological health of their users (maximizing their well-being, productivity and learning performance) and to minimize the use of non-sustainable energy and non-recyclable materials. These are just a few examples from a long list of public responsibilities.

   The related innovations require at a global scale, trillions of dollars of investments. The
challenge for both the commissioning governments and the executing private parties is to realize the desired innovations in a framework of ever-tighter constraints. The combination of the rapidly growing population, much tighter constraints dictated by the need for more sustainable solutions and a coming tidal wave of end-of-life cycle infrastructure replacement in many developed economies will require both technical ingenuity and taking the innovation process to a next level in terms of methodologies applied and tightness of the cooperation between all parties involved.

by Tjerk Gorter and Biba Visnjicki

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