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Developing Infrastructure for Evolvability: Integrating Modularity and Safeguards In Design Nuno Gil . Manchester Business School (on sabbatical) Global Research Awardee (Royal Academy of Engineering) CRGP, Stanford University (visiting scholar).

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Developing Infrastructure for Evolvability: Integrating Modularity and Safeguards In Design Nuno Gil

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Developing Infrastructure for Evolvability: Integrating Modularity and Safeguards In DesignNuno Gil

Manchester Business School (on sabbatical)

Global Research Awardee (Royal Academy of Engineering)

CRGP, Stanford University (visiting scholar)

© Nuno Gil MBS 2006

© Nuno Gil, Manchester Business School NUS, 2009


Victorian sewerage system, London

  • 19th century, River Thames was practically an open sewer

  • After The Great Stink (cholera epidemic) of 1858, Parliament decided to create modern sewerage system

  • Joseph Bazalgette, civil engineer, designed system that diverted waste to Thames Estuary, totalling almost 160 km underground sewers fed by 720 km of main sewers

  • 20th century, major improvements made to system


Bridge over River Tagus, Lisbon

  • Built between 1962 and 1964

  • Suspension bridge, double deck, 2277m

  • In 1999, $1.4m project to install secondary suspension cables, widen roadway; install dual track railroad


Infrastructure meets Business

  • Infrastructure Gap is Massive

    • population growth, migration towards cities, deteriorated infrastructure, globalization of supply chains

  • Governments worldwide recourse to private-sector capital due to constrained budgets and ideology

    • sale of state-owned infrastructure companies

    • private finance initiatives

    • infrastructure increasingly attractive to pension funds, private investors, family houses


Infrastructure Design for Evolvability

  • Acknowledge tension between profit-seeker and public interest

    • Affordability/caps on user fees limit capital investment

    • Long delivery times + operational longevity => uncertainty

    • Bias towards capital cost instead of life-cycle costs

  • Evolvable design: design infrastructure to last, i.e., capable to accommodate economically change over time while limiting capital investment upfront


…from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.


Evolvability

  • Darwin’s theories in evolution and variability

  • Evolvability: an organism’s capacity to generate variation (Kirschner and Gerhart 98)

    • Weak linkage, minimal dependencies among processes

    • Exploratory mechanisms, processes that can tolerate change

    • Surviving lineages diversified by maintaining core of conserved sequences and functions (vital processes) and modifying others


Product/System Design Modularity

  • Modularity: generate design architectures that can flex to change (Ulrich 95, Baldwin and Clark 00)

    • architecture, decouples functional modules

    • standard rules, govern interfaces

    • tests, verify modules will work together

  • but modularity does not come for free (Ethiraj and Levinthal 04)

  • and can come with penalty in performance (Fixson and Park 08)


  • Options Thinking

    • modularity builds options in design (Baldwin and Clark 97)

    • option, the right but not the obligation to choose course of action (Merton 73)

      • design with built-in options is more tolerant of uncertainty

      • high potential value is conditional on success/ limited loss conditional on failure

      • option purpose: stage delivery; switch use; grow capacity

      • options ‘on’ projects AND options ‘in’ projects (Wang and de Neufville 2005)


    Research Site: £4.2bn T5 Development Heathrow airport, project promoter BAA plc.

    Conceptualization

    Mid 90s

    Start construction

    Dec 01

    Open phase 1

    Mar 08

    Open phase 2

    2012


    Analysis

    • Two major determinants of decision to build options

      • Perceived likelihood that option may be exercised

        • high likelihood increases attractiveness of upfront investment

        • long-range timeframes to exercise option put off

      • Degree to which design is/can be modularised

        • how much does it cost to build option?

        • how much does it cost to exercise option?

        • how much would it cost otherwise ?

        • standard designs increase chances ‘to get it right’


    Functional Modules Available ex-ante

    • Functional modules with standardised designs tend to be available when group of qualified suppliers is limited (modular clusters) (Baldwin and Clark 97)


    Modularize architectures

    • Physically decouple functional elements:

      • Physically decouple concourse space across 3 buildings: allows to stage delivery (stage option)

      • Physically decouple roof and façade from interior floor plate superstructure: allows to delay interior design (delay option)


    Build safeguards in designs

    • Safeguard: provisions needed to embed option in integral design (or enhance option built in modular design)

      • Passive safeguarding: mostly design provisions (secure space)

      • Active safeguarding: build in physical provisions (additional tunnel)


    Mapping of Built-in Options

    Likelihood of Option Exercising

    Low High


    Attractiveness of Safeguarding


    Design Decision Tree (Gil 07)


    What’s next?

    • Process of design for evolvability

    • Infrastructure design for ‘future-proofing’

    • Building option fees in public procurement contracts


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