Complexity, modelling and infrastructure futures: embedding learning in future business models

Professor Brian Collins is leading a multi-institutional research project the ‘International Centre for Infrastructure Futures’. A team from the University of Bristol is leading on the ‘learning framework’ for the business models which will enable us to learn from the projects and from each other. Here, Professor Brian Collins introduces the project and the challenges we face.

The deficiencies of our traditional, fragmented, sectoral approach to infrastructure creation and management are becoming more apparent as poorly appreciated interdependencies make infrastructures vulnerable to service disruptions and cascade failures. These lead to capacity limitations, inefficiencies, poor reliability, low adaptability and missed opportunities, which are further exacerbated by poor data and information about interdependencies in and between sectors at the organisational, commercial and policy levels. The resulting disjointed approaches to governance and policy create perverse incentives and conflicting actions, which then stifle collaborative innovation. ICIF is a new way of bringing together the stakeholders involved in renewing the UK’s infrastructure to exploit multidisciplinary, systemic thinking about infrastructure interdependencies when developing the novel business models needed to address future challenges. The Centre will develop a principled and generic learning process for creating innovative, performance based business models to exploit infrastructure interdependencies. For Professor Collins recent keynote at INCOSE follow this link.