AI and Change Management, the Focus of BuiltWorlds 2023 CEO Forum Meeting, Sets Stage for 2024

BuiltWorlds hosted the annual CEO Forum Meeting this April in Chicago, which was limited to 30 of the industry’s leading executives. This intimate event fostered a space for thought leader CEOs to discuss emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities occurring within the built world. With a focal point on peer-to-peer connections, the event serves as a key catalyst for disruption in different niches within the industry, such as data development, venture capital, the adoption of emerging technologies, and organizational changes. This piece unpacks the two key takeaways from the 2023 CEO Forum Meeting, while also taking a look at what lies ahead.

Our 2024 annual meeting will serve as a prime platform for this high-level cohort to dive into critical themes such as the future workforce, innovation strategies, and other prospects to guide their organizations towards new frontiers.

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1. Topping the Charts: AI's Role in Shaping the AEC Tech Landscape

  • A pivotal development within the past year was the release of Chat GPT-3, marking the world’s first widely accessible large language model, AI solution. The emergence of this technology held a deep impact with the perspective a CEO may have—as it holds the potential reshape business models for companies within the built world. This shift is spurring industry leaders to take a proactive approach towards tech adoption and uncover new initiatives to utilize AI within their company or risk being squeezed out and left behind.
  • At the 2023 CEO Forum Meeting, two distinguished speakers led a comprehensive panel discussing AI. This session provided both an academic perspective from Dan Koloski, Professor of the Practice and Head of Learning Programs at the Roux Institute, Northeastern University; and an AEC tech perspective from Jeevan Kalanithi, CEO, which centered around the rise of AI and Machine Learning (ML) within the industry.
  • Throughout the meeting, the group shared their perspectives on AI, discussed the growing pains associated with its adoption, and gained knowledge about directing future tech initiatives.
  • A direct outgrowth of this discussion, this upcoming February, BuiltWorlds will introduce our Inaugural AI/ML meeting, where we will help these and other member companies further explore the future of this technology and discuss proactive strategies for its integration.

Pictured below, participants in the 2023 CEO Forum included CEOs, Executive Chairs, and Innovation Executives from leading AEC firms including Barton Malow, Beck Group, Comfort Systems, EllisDon, Graycor, The Helm Group, Kajima, Milwaukee Tool, Mortensen, Ozinga, Scurto Cement, Spawglass, STO Building Group, and Thornton Thomasetti learning from guest speaker, Peter Holt, CEO, Holt Cat.


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2. Navigating Organizational Transformation in the Industry

  • Efficient organizational change is a challenge that transcends the built world, spanning across many different industries. Within AEC, these issues are heightened due to the industry's inherent complexities and desire to keep traditional practices. The space is known for its resistance to change that is rooted within hierarchical structures, cultural norms, and conforming to old processes. Disrupting groups within the industry are looking to push for higher adoption of tech, shifting market demands within a global scale, and addressing workforce dynamics.
  • It is key for organizations to begin to understand AEC stakeholders strong resistance to change and how to navigate this within the workspace's dynamic. In order to do this, organizations must create a culture that has open communication, provides a plethora of support and training resources for its employees, and discusses the benefits of any changes that are occurring.
  • Speaker David Schonthal, Director of Entrepreneurship Programs, Faculty Director of the Zell Fellows Program, and award-winning Professor of Strategy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School of Management led a discussion and case study on how to more effectively enact change in their organizations.