Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Throughout history, in both nature and industry, hardship has always begotten or accelerated innovation.
Necessity is the mother of invention, but difficulty is the father of necessity.
For construction, I see the coronavirus crisis driving innovation in at least two areas:
1. Supply chain: As will other industries, the traditional construction supply chain will accelerate in its transformation from a rigid monolith dominated by middlemen to a flexible, distributed network of open and direct relationships. This will further drive out cost and delivery time.
2. Remote building (AKA offsite construction): All industries will be inexorably swept by COVID-19 toward a reality no longer bound by geography. Construction will be no exception: While until now we've continued to cling to a traditional "boots-on-the-ground" work mentality, the current circumstances will force and enable us to build (more) remotely. And once we taste the benefits, we'll be hooked for good.
To be sure, there is struggle ahead. But we will yet look back on this experience and credit massive societal advancement to this black swan event.
Stay safe. Keep innovating.