Attendees at the DFC's first Leadership Summit on Applied Innovation and Technology.

A think tank formed to help navigate global trends, challenges and opportunities for innovation in the architecture, engineering and construction sectors has launched an Australian chapter.

The Design Futures Council’s (DFC) Australian chapter has been launched by Australian Institute of Architects past chief executive David Parker along with Metis Advisory and CPD managing director Alexia Lidas, who is also a former Consult Australia NSW state manager.

Mr Parken said the business of design was changing rapidly, and the body would provide “big picture global thinking” and foresight to help steer member firms through that change.

While he noted there were a number of built environment membership groups in Australia, the decision to launch another one was because there was “no other organisation bringing leaders from all disciplines in the built environment together to discuss the business of design”.

“Alexia and I both have a background in industry associations, so we are very clear about what’s in the market and we have no desire to reinvent the wheel,” he said.

The built environment sector has a reputation for being slow to innovate, and Ms Lidas, who is DFC managing director, said it was at risk of disruption from outside sources.

“Globally we can see players from other industries eying off the built environment as an industry which is ripe for picking, and rightly so. Our productivity should be higher,” she said.

“Firms like Google are the new competitors to watch.

“There are many other changes to come in our industry. The Design Futures Council is a powerful source of information for leaders navigating through these complex challenges and opportunities.”

Early members include Rothelowman, Fender Katsalidis, Holding Redlich, Hayball, Vertiv, Colin Biggers and Paisley, Boral, C2R, Form Engineers, Forrest and Wood Products Australia, Fleetwood and BCI Media.

DFC was first launched in the US in 1994.

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