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3 Barriers to Innovation As in any sector, accelerating the process of technology innovate tion in infrastructure depends equally on increased research and on better transfer of the products of research to field use (Tornatzky et al., 1983~. Neither wiB be easy to achieve. The implementation strategy for an mEastructure research agenda, presented In the next chapter, must comider the barriers to research arid to the spread of research results ~ desenbed In this chapter. A national strategy for infrastructure research and development must ensure that significant resources are devoted to te`~bnology transfer efforts as wed as to te~bnolog~cal and scientific research on new products and processes. lNl?1~8TllUCTllBE ClIARACTEllISTICS THAT DI8COU=GE RE8E"CH Researth for improved infrastructure systems has not always been vigorously pursued in the past, with the exception of cer- tain modes such as highways and surveys. The reasons for this lam of research lie ~ a complex array of geographic, economic, politick, and technics charactermtics of infrastructure systems. The primary charactermtics that seem to discourage reteach and inno~ration mclude industry fragmentation and the absence of a 27

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28 market mechanism. This ~ true for both the initiation of research and the disunion of research produce. Fragmentation of Research by Mode and Junction. There no single government agency or other organization that ~ respon- sible for the state of our inil~tructure, including ~ its modes. Each mode has its own set of institutions, users, and degree of recepti~renem to innovation. ~ addition, there ~ fragmentation of responsibility within modes. ~ the highway system, for example, county, city, state, and federal organizations play diverse roles. There are about 59,000 water supply systems, most of them very smaD~5 percent of the systems serve led than 3 percent of the population (Congressional Budget Office, 1987~. The character of needs also varies by size of jurisdiction. A small community's water supply system, for instance, has quite different problems to address than those of a large community. This fragmentation results in a Variety of problems ~ ~ti- ating and conducting research programs. Most jurisdictions or agencies tend to be small in size, with little capacity to comman- deer resources for research. Moreover, the modes and jurisdiction tend to compete for the same resources, resulting ~ uneven ret source distribution. Local jurisdictions tend to reinvent the wheel for problem that are common to Al. Research on new materi- ad for pothole repair and ice removal from highways are subjects common to several loch, state, and fevers program, and dup~ic~ tive efforts seem unnecessary ~ this field. FinaBy, fragmentation reduces the possibility of research that address problems that cut across the various modes of infrastructure. Thus, the water supply, wastewater men ageme~}t, and hazardous waste industries face common problems in piping design. A coordinated approach would enhance the capabilities of Al involved. Abecnec of a Market Mechanism. Mont infrastructure facilities are operated and managed by public agencies. The profit motive that often Entree research in other industries ~ absent from the area of ~frsatructure; thus, research ~ not typically an activity of public infrastructure agencies. ~ Although the large investments involved would seem to prom- ise a profitable market for the priorate sector, ~ fact, the fragmen- tation of control within the various modes has discouraged any sort of standardization in facility design. This laclc of star dardiza- tion is not conducive to production manufacturing. Without the

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29 possibility of a large 8a~ rolume, private industry is reluctant to mYest ~ innovative products. The marketing effort ~n~rol~red educating the may buyers of such products ~ also significant. The combination of low sales volume and high marketing costs discourages priorate interest ~ research for public works facilities. As a result of these and other impediments to research on improved infrastructure techIIologies, researcl1 has lagged in some infrastructure mean "d on materials and techniques that pertain to more than one infrastructure mode. BARRI1:RS TO TH1: DIFFUSION OF INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGI1:S E,ren if the rate of the discovery and development of new tech- nology is increased under the stimulus of a national infrastructure research and development agenda, significant barriers would ret main in transferring inno~rati~re research products from the labo- ratory to widespread use in the field. Such diffilsion-oinno~ration problems are not limited to infrastructure, as evidenced by the recent attention to problems that American manufactures have had ~ de~relop~g the video cassette recorder and other products based on technologies invented in the United States. Ill fact, a huge social science research literature exists on the problem a of diffusing innovations, although very few studies relate directly to ink - tructure. Sociological studies, which emphasize commu- nication patterns and the characteristics of inno~ration-adopting individuals and orgy ations, are synthesized by Rogers (1983). More recent studies have focused on organizations, because organi- zations, rather than individuals, adopt most innovations (Rogers, 1983; Rogers and Kim, 1985~. Studies by economics emphasize industry structure add characteristics of the invention, especially its profitability (e.g., Mowery, in print; Mansfield, 1968). Many of the barriers identified in this literature also apply to innovation with respect to infrastructure systems. Ways to understand bets ter Ed overcome these barriers must be considered ~ esigDing and ~mplement~g an ~nfi~tructure research agenda. The barriers include: Cullural Values. The stones about popular unwiBingne~ to change personal habits n grays that would make new infrastruc- ture technology more effective or efficient are legion. The average

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30 Amencan's attachment to his or her automobile ~ Fred knew. The automobile ~ ~ excellent example, In fact, of a t=-hnolo~cal nno~ration whose compatibility with cultural Sues aBowed it to spread very rapidly, foiling subsequent efforts to promote techno- logical improvements in mass trap sit (Tarr, 1984; Hilton, 1985~. Similarly, the cultural tendency toward Nippon rather than reuse of produce makes it harder to develop technologies for improved management, maintenance, and modernization of ex~t~g infield tructure. For example, technologies for recycling soUd waste exist, but they face mgra~ned cultural reactance to separation at the source, that is, to separation of glass, metal, and paper at the individual consumer ferret. Govc~nmcntal and Profeemonal Standard and Rcguiatione. Though necessary to ensure safety and reliability, standards "d regulations can become obsolete ~d a barrier to innovation if they are not reprised on a periodic b - is. Many standard that apply to highway M,] railroad systems have their origin ~ technologies prevalent at the turn of the century; therefore, they do not accom- modate easily new design, new material, arid new construction methods. There appears to be a strong social and institutional ret luctarece to make changes In long~established building standards. For example, the acceptance of pipe made of polyvinyl chionde (PVC) as a substitute for copper and iron pipe In residential and commercial construction was redated by both unions and mun~c- ip~ities. Unions objected to the use of PVC because it was labor-sav~g improvement which reduced the skis Ed time re- qu~red for the pl~'rr~b~g trades. M~nicip~ities, reacting to union pressure and lack of knowledge regarding this new material, were also reluctant to change the building codes. Fragmentation in standard-setting and regulatory authority can ~ be an ~mpedirnent to creating sufficient markets for m- no~ration. To construct a solid waste incinerating system, for in- stance, communities may be required to meet the codes and st~- dards of as many as 30 to 40 federal, state, counter, municipal, and regional organizations tenth o~rerIapping jurisdictional authorities. This can be an overwhelming task, particularly if the standard) are not up to date. The problem of inadequate stands~ds are also encountered bidding and contracting procedures. Typically, standard math rial lists are part of the specifications, even though substitution

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31 through an for equal" clause ~ permitted. In practice, bidders are wavy of substituting new products or material because the bur- den of proof that the new item does, In fact, meet the for equals standard ~ on the bidder. Bids have been thrown out where, In the opinion of the contracting agency, the new product did not meet the standard. The risk of losing the bid certainly stifles any innovation on the part of the contractor. ~rgc Proicet Scats. Most public works infrastructure systems are costly, larg~scale, complex, and geographically dispersed. I,ife e~cpect~cies for these facilities are typically 50 to 100 years, and construction of these facilities Is of long duration. These systems are expect to provide continuous and reliable produce or ser- ~rices. To introduce innovations into this class of engineering Gym tem'3 requires large-scale, complex, probably costly, and long-term research arid development efforts. These features make it difficult to mount support for infrastructure innovations, and to sustain support once mounted in jurisdictions with limited resources and shor~term political agendas. The problem is particularly acute for small jurisdiction attempting a prototype or demonstration project. There are many costs associated with these projects, particularly if they are led than successful. Small agencies or jurisdictions find it very difficult to justify the budgetary risks associated with a demonstration project. Education and Rcacarch Systems. At the university level, ed- ucation related to infrastructure occurs primarily in eng~neer~g schools, architecture schools, city and regional planning programs' and public administration programs. Of these, the primary source of education and research is eng~neer~g, particularly civil eng~- neer~ng, where there are barriers to innovation for infrastructure. These include (1) ~ emphasm on the design of new systems and structures In education and practice, (2) the status of civil en- gmeer~ng in eng~neer~g schools, and (3) the lack of sustained fudging for citric engmeenug research. In both civil engineering education and professional practice, the primary emphasis is on the theory and methods of infrastruc- ture design. Other aspects such as unplementation, operation, rehabilitation, preservation, and maintenance are often given only brief treatment. The resulting bin in education towards new construction is reinforced by the professional practice of civil en- gineering. The salaries for field engineers are usually much lower

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32 that those of designers. The professional rewarm are highest for good Resin, e.g., numerous nations and international comply titions and award exist; there are few comparable re.war~ for nondes~gn activities. Infrastructure ~ the concern of several different groups within universities engineering, architecture, city and regional planning, and public administration. Of these, civil engineering typically has a long history slid well-estab~ished program. However, civil eng~- neering programs generally have relatively low status in compazi- son to the other en~eer~g disciplines. They here been the first to face cuts ~ uni~rersi1~r funding for teaching program, research scholarships and fellowships, add professional/public service ac- ti~rities. Some engineering School have ~=ont~ued their card engineering programs in the face of university budget constraints and declining student interest in the field. Others lacic the achol- a~hips and fellowships required to attract and retain excellent students to the field. Similar emphasm ~ given to new design and new construction method In the fields of architecture and city "d regions plan- ning. There ~ little ongoing research into method and material for rehabilitation and preservation of infrastructure. For exam- ple, the destructive effects of cherr~cab Wed ~ clearing ice Tom highways and bridges are weD known, but there has been little research into alternatives or systematic evaluation of the costs of using these chemical methods. Researth In civil engineering fields lacks sustained funding. Relatively little research and development is supported in the United States by either the private sector or the federal go~rern- ment, and there ~ evidence that lack of Treatment ~ tied to low producti~ribr gains over the past 20 years in the U.S. construction industry (National Research Council, 1986~. While the Depart ment of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space A~ninis~tr~ tion, and other federal agencies have provided strong support for such engineering fields as aerospace and electronics, citric engimeer- ing has tended to be o~rerIooked. The National Science Foundation martens only a smaD effort in basic citric engineering research. ~386 and I`iability. The number of liability suits and the size of damage award has increased dramatically In the past few years. M=y professionals are being pressured to follow ultra~conser~rati~re practice in the denim and construction of infrastructure facilities.

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33 The problem is compounded by the typical public contracting process, which attempts to spread the work associated Ninth one project among several companies. Thus, one contract win be let for preliminary design, another for film design, another for construc- tion, ~d stiD another for construction management. Designers for the preliminary stages are reluctant to suggest new innovations if they require careful field Initiation, because there ~ no guar- antee that they wiD be able to supenrme that installation during construction. E comenrative Sections are made at each stage of the contract process, the final project tYDiCa0Y uses Costly add overconsenrati~re design. ~ - -~ ~.r < ~ ~ ,~ Organizational Inertia. Organization theory h" identified fac- tors that promote organizational inertia arid reactance to change, including the natural desire to ma~ntam the status quo, reactance to the traumas of change, the inability to see problems due to mgra~ned attitudes and e~rery-day routines, and constraints such as limited resources, sunk costs, mBex~ble rules Aria regulations, and limited personnel capacity (Kaufin~, 1971~. On the other hand, organization do change and ingrate In response to such internal and external forces as performance problems, internal ret organizations' personnel changes, budget changes, and changing technology. IN most cases an internal ~catalyst" is needed, such as an individual or management team m.a dec~sion-mak~ng pm sition, to overcome low recepti~rily to new procedures, processes, or technology, to provide either greater productivity, lower cost, unproved product or service, or to change or expand the Traction of the organization. Such an implementer must anticipate these bar- tiers or attitudes on the part of personnel within the org^Ti!zation d devme ~ program for acceptance of change. For Ample: A charter c}~nge ~ New Yorlc City in the early 1960e transferred the jurisdiction {or the deign, contraction, Ad mam- t~a~nce of all #rv ices from the five individual borough presidents to the city-wide Department of Public World. Although the title had changed, in en excellent example of bureaucratic inertia, the same ind~riduale worked in the Ewe place under the same managers, retaining the divergent old borongh-president design standards and field crews using a wide spectrum of nonontform equipment. After some years, a new public world director decided to integrate these five disparate unite. A complete Aped tory ~ made, especially Of personnel capability. Three mont}m of can did d~c~iom tools place with the career civil ser~rants invohred, as well as with the Lion representing Geld personnel. A uniform sewer management

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34 information system ~ prepared in ad~ce. Information sheets of proposed chang" were widely circulated. All personnel in~rol~red were invited to ~ meeting promoting the proposed change Ed timetable. The actual trader of dutice, shift of personnel, and sharing of equipment succe~lly tooic place ~ one day with no disruption of operation. Frequently, in the case of 8 public agency, the agency must conduct an effective public relations effort to bring about public acceptance. For Example: For 40 years, water pollution control plants through- out the world had built sludge digesters huge concrete tanlce in which putrescible raw sludge undergoes anaerobic digestion to convert the sludge to a non-putr~cible soil conditioner. Typical accepted design parameters were to provide one cubic foot of ~rol- urne for 0.03 lbe of volatile matter per day. Enormous tanks were provided, many with up to 300,000 cubic-ft capacity. A small group of process engineers in New Yorlc City estimated that very little of the tam: volume was in actual use; much of it was filled with grit and scum. They verified, by the use of tracer salts, that only a portion of the volume was circulated. They then demon- strated on a full-pl~t scale that they could load rontme}y up to 0.20 lbs of volatile matter per day by Ming all the tam: volume through the use of proper recirculation. When this was publicized, some manufacturers tool: out ads and published articles attacking the findings and urging cities to Stick to the tried Ed true con- servati~rc standards,. despite the spectacular demonstration. This campaign delayed for at least two years general acceptance of what now is standard practice. In New Yorl: City alone, the earrings ~ an needed new construction over the next decade was at least S2SO million. 1:NCOIJ}tAG~G Thy: DD?FUSION O1? INNOVATION Despite these barriers to the adoption of innovation In infirm structure systems, innovation continues to occur. The committee believes, however, that the pace of innovation diffusion should be accelerated to bring the performance of infrastructure up to the level required to meet the needs of today's national and ~nterna- tional economy. This suggests, first, that problems of diffusion of innovation should be considered ~ designing the unplementstion strategy for an infrastructure research agenda in order to max~- Adze the likelihood that subsequent research will be desired and therefore used by potential adopters, and, second, that barriers to and incentives for diffusion be addressed explicitly withy the research agenda itself.

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35 The social science research literature includes studies of suc- cessful strategies and techniques for promoting innovation. Un- fortunately, none of the examples relate directly to infrastructure systems. The main conclusion from these studies ~ that inno~ra- tions do not implement them~el~res, and success can be difficult to achieve. Deliberate policies and programs are required. Some of the approaches include: Peer Diffusion. Peer diEusion refers to the spread of inns orations by a group of early adopters who help others to under- stand and implement an innovation by sharing their experiences with colleagues. Models include Public Technology, Idc., which was created by the major urban public interest groups National League of Cities, International City Managers Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and National Association of Counties to promote innovative technologies, and, in the education field, the National Diffusion Network. Peer diffusion ~ especially useful for dealing with such barrier as skepticimn and lack of knowledge about alternatives. Research shows that adoption ~ more likely when the source of an Oration ~ a peer, when the innovation is certified m3 valuable by a respected source, and when the in- novating peer provides assistance in transferring the innovation (Rogers, 1983; Rogers, tenth Shoemaker, 1971). Support for Innovation Champions. AD organizations have in- novation ~champions." Sometimes they are managers, sometimes professional, and sometunes office or field staff. Research on mno- vation indicates that funding, training, and awards are important resources to make avmIable to innovation champions to help them foster innovation within organizations. Dcmonstrattone and E:z:pemments. Experiments are conducted to reduce uncertainty about the outcome of new processes or prod ts being designed in the laboratory; demonstrations are con- ducted to explore the technical feasibility, of innovation. Their purpose is to reduce the uncertainty of potential users about the practicality of the innovation by providing useful and accessible information about the performance of the innovation under condi- tions similar to those faced by potential users. Potential adopters can be well aware of and even favor an innovation but be Pam sine rejectors of it because of lack of clear unplementation steps. Demonstrations are especially effective In countering this lack of

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36 knowledge about unplementation problems. They pronde critical operational knowledge. Accordingly, experiments and demonstrate time should be encouraged especially public demonstrations of very costly, la~ge~scale, or radically new innovations. Many of the most important lemons to be reamed from demonstration emerge from the experience of operating and maintaining a fuD system. The funding of fi~-scale demons/ratio=, therefore, provides an unportant stimulant to innovation, especially if attention ~ paid to the lemons learned during actual operations. Information on Costs and Benefits. One of the common few tures of an innnovation ~ that its benefits and costs are not fully known, yet such Formation ~ essential in adoption decisions. Potential benefits are especially difficult to identify and measure, which is one argument for conducting full-scale demonstrations. Mechanisms for Rceolv~ng Convict. The diffusion of inno~ tions can be spurred by preventing or removing roadblocks that stem from disputes between experts on the value of an innovation, and from conflicts between citizen groups and government about the desirability of an innovation. When experts disagree about the need for and value of a particular innovation, this crested confusion and doubt among potential adopters. Expert panels, referees, and other mechanisms can be used to develop area of agreement among experts that can spur inns oration and its diffusion. Similarly, mechanisms for resolution of disputes between citizen groups and government can provide the same Unction (Rivkin Associates, 1987~. Coopcrativc Research and Dcvciopment. There is evidence from experience with previous innovations that barriers can be overcome through cooperative cros~organizational research and development that ~ continuous Id steady and that focuses on greater understanding of research in each ink - tructure mode and also of cro~modal research ~ areas such as system studies, stan- dards setting, and materials (Wells, 1986~. The MCC (Microelec- tropics and Computing Consortium) provides a current example of such cooperative research "d development involving computer and microelectronics industries, similar to the program managed by the Electric Power Research institute for the nation's electric utilities.

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37 CONCIUSIONS The barriers to innovation endemic in any industry are espe- ciaDy formidable for infrastructure systems because of fragmented responsibility, market limits, governmental procurement practices, and other factom identified above. Although change add inns vation nevertheless occur, these processes can be and must be accelerated. This review of barriers to research and its diffusion suggests several desirable features of any attempt to stimulate innovation in our infrastructure systems. First, a national effort to encourage more and better research is required to ensure that research needs and opportunities are identified systematically and comprehen- sively, to encourage research efforts where they are lagging, and to sponsor crosscutting research that is not adequately pursued within the research communities of the individual infrastructure modes. Second, even if infrastructure research efforts are increased and unproved, steps must be taken to ensure that the beneficial results of such research are transferred to and adopted by man- agers, suppliers, and users of infrastructure systetrm. Perhaps the chief lemon to be learned from past efforts to transfer technology is the need to involve the potential adopters early in the research and development proce - . This ensures that the research focuses on areas of high priority and that the development phase results in useful products that can be used with a minimum of addi- tional adaptation by users. Most put federal efforts to stimulate technological i~no~ration have had limit succe - , ~ part because they underestimated the problems ~ transferring innovations to the field. Probably the most succe~fu! federal effort to improve the productivity of an industry through research and development has been the Agriculture Department's Cooperative Extension Service, whose decentralized structure has been able to meet the diverse needs of its many different users (Teich, 1985~. Experience also shows the unportance of an in-house research and development capability on the part of potential adopters (Mowery, 1983~. Accordingly, it makes sense to use and strengthen existing research capacities within the infrastructure modes rather than to supplant them. For that reason, the institutional strategy for stimulating research and innovation In infrastructure outlined

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38 in the next chapter h" been designed specifically to involve in- frastructure operators add supplied and to build on the existing research capacities of the various infrastructure modes. Third, the barriers to and incentives for innovation should themmeives be the subject of public policy research as part of a national infrastructure research agenda. Such research would be aimed at identifying strategies for overcoming barriers and improving the transfer of mno~rations to the primary operators of the nation's infrastructure state ~d local.