Embracing Innovation to Address Tomorrow’s Challenges

January 20, 2023 | Innovator

The AEC industry is always changing and the technology that supports our public infrastructure is continuously evolving.

KCI embraces forward thinking to ensure a constant focus on staying responsive to the needs and demands of the industry while serving our core purpose of caring for and improving the built and natural environment. This ideology led to the creation of an internal program, known as the Innovation Incubator, designed to convert employee ideas into successful business models.

KCI’s team members are key drivers of change within the firm, and the Innovation Incubator capitalizes on the expertise of our staff to mature ideas that support our business goals and further our commitment to our clients. Employees from all levels of the company are encouraged to share high-level concepts before then being paired with a subject matter expert who helps guide their vision. After an evaluation process, successful applicants are given the funding and resources needed to develop, implement, and execute their innovation. This process has led to new products, professional services and operational efficiencies that have enabled KCI to solve complex problems and deliver enhanced solutions.

“Our biggest challenge in five years may not currently exist. By prioritizing innovation and embracing the ideas of employees throughout the firm, we have a greater potential for uncovering new opportunities to develop solutions for the challenges we may face in the future.”

– Jeanne Ruthloff, Vice President and Technology Market Leader

As a result of the program, KCI has deployed a wide range of innovative concepts and techniques for our customers including digital twins, new applications of unmanned aerial vehicles, and geophysical AM Gradiometer (AMG) technology for detecting and visualizing underground infrastructure. After completing a pilot study of the AMG technology through the incubator, our team utilized the tool to map four natural gas facilities for the BGE Owings Mills Gas Gate Station, which was honored with an Outstanding Project Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Maryland. These successes have led KCI to refresh the program, originally launched in 2016 as an annual application process, to now provide year-round opportunities for our employees to think innovatively and execute on ideas that solve a diverse set of challenges.

KCI piloted AMG technology as an innovative solution for addressing the complexity of detecting underground utilities and substructures.

The Innovation Incubator extends KCI’s culture of employee-ownership by bringing together our team’s collective knowledge to evaluate emerging technologies and how they can be successfully applied in our industry. By exploring new opportunities and accelerating change, we are able to offer our clients products and services that improve the communities we serve while promoting cost and time savings.

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