David Porter, Managing Director, Endeavour Programme Talks on Australia’s Project AI Opportunity

At the end of last year Australia’s leading scientific organisation CSIRO released through its Data 61 initiative a report called “Artificial Intelligence Roadmap”. It reflects many of the points that are present in other countries’ “official” artificial intelligence positions. Though the scope is wide, I would like to investigate one line and focus on one opportunity.

The one line is:

“Solving significant problems at home, exporting the solutions to the world and building-off our strengths

The one opportunity :

To change cost and time project performance world wide to make things better for all.

Why is this important to the world, and how does this relate to the Data 61 report?

Research shows that about one third of all economic activty in the OEDC is delivered in a project format. A decade of research at the University of Oxford shows that projects of all sorts, in all industries and all countries incur chronic (and often severe) overruns. The data shows that the minimum overrun for road projects is 20% with averages ranging to well over 100%, like the Olympic Games (Flyvbjerg et.al.). Using the minmum this means that annual overruns of the US$ 53 Trillion OECD GDP is well in excess of US$10 Trillion. Let me put this in some home grown perspective.

The Sydney Light Rail project is quoted as being over A$1.1 B (US$750m) over budget. That is two regional hospitals, or over 50 schools that the people of NSW now cannot have.

The Data 61 report states that “high construction costs and unplanned cost overruns are limiting our ability to improve our cities and infrastructure” and “there is an urgent need to comprehensively overhaul processes for assessing and developing public infrastructure projects” (8.2.1). We try to solve these problems with more consultants, more systems, more planning, more government inquiries, more taxpayer dollars. But the data shows that hardly anything changes.

Enter AI…

Here is how AI technology does this. With Octant AI for projects and the right collaboration, Australia is an ideal place to leverage this technology into the rest of the world. The technology that mitigates time and cost overrun for projects is in use by customers now. It works and the benefits are substantial, better outcomes and lower costs.

However, collaboration across government and the private sector remains a challenge, and leadership is required to enable this opportunity to improve project performance globally. It’s all about the data, and we challenge governments and private sector organisations to face their own culture of data hoarding and fear. The mechanisms exist now for low risk data ecosystems to be developed, but it requires vision, willingness and leadership to “solve this significant problem at home and export the solution to the world”. All that is needed to change the paradigm of failure is in our hands right now.


About Endeavour Programme

Endeavour Programme’s artificial intelligence platform mitigates time and cost overruns on projects. Our world-first technology Octant AI, predicts problems on major projects faster, earlier and over 200% more accurately, allowing users to make better decisions earlier. We harness the power of project data to improve performance in a $10 trillion global industry. We are the vanguard of a paradigm change.

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