Design Thinking – Cleantech Construction!

June 14, 2009

I remember as though it was yesterday.

The day I met the Luu brothers – Neil and Nathan. Two young Aussie/Vietnamese Design Thinking Mavericks!

Pegasus: Concrete Innovation - New Urban Living!

Pegasus: Concrete Innovation - New Urban Living!

I was following a hunch, desperate to see some real innovation in housing design as the words from a 1959 Newspaper Interview with Dick Dusseldorp (founder of Lend Lease) kept me awake at night – it was driving me nuts!

“When I was a boy a family motor car cost three times the value of an ordinary suburban home, now a suburban home costs three times as much as a motor car. Now that shows the progress that industrialisation has brought to the production of motor vehicles. In the building trade, on the other hand, there has been very little progress…since Noah built the ark!”

Ok so lets fast forward almost 50 years. Call it serendipity but I had just driven past one of Qld’s first designed precast concrete homes and after considerable effort had finally tracked  down its creators.

We met over a coffee. (In typical Innovation Cafe style) Both ex QUT. Nathan (marketing) the talker, Neil (construction/design/engineer) the thinker. We hit it off immediately as I sat listening to their story.

A story about a family fleeing an oppressive regime. A story about starting over again and building an exciting future in a new land. A story of hard work, hope, success, achievement. And a story of innovation.

The brothers Luu – innovation journey began because of there love of flashy cars and despite being told they couldn’t, just went out an created a one-stop shop customising, styling, shaping fiberglass moldings and spray painting vehicle creations that were designed to turn heads! It didn’t matter that neither had formal skills they just adapted and learnt by experimenting, trial and error to create an award winning business.

Next came a bigger challenge. Concrete housing. Modular grid construction to be precise. Faster, More affordable, Better! Yet again they battled an oppressive regulatory regime – relentless in trying to stop them from doing something different!. But that didn’t deter the boys!. They’ve created Pegasus and now three years later since our first coffee together – amazing things are happening.

In tough times Innovation flourishes. People are beginning to listen. To unlearn learned beliefs. Think: the DTP (Desktop Publishing) revolution, the brothers Luu (in stealth mode) together with other industry zealots are hard at work developing a radical online modular Desktop Construction (DTC) business that will change the housing construction nightmare forever! A new ‘killer app‘ that will annihilate the outdated and existing dysfunctional residential construction industry.

Viva la Web 2.0 Revolution!

Just imagine – you go online,  thanks to Google earth and maps, view and find land for sale, zoom in on the lot, place your 3D rendered model on it. You can even look out the windows or sit on the balcony admiring your virtual reality views. Then when you’re done and happy – just press PRINT. Automated purchase, plans approved, and out pops your home like some giant modular lego construction. Complete turnkey construction but without the allen key

Neil and Nathan aren’t just Design Thinkers in the words of Bernd H Schmitt, they’re  Big Thinky Heads!

Footnote: Cleantech Construction:  Built to last – bushfire and termite resilient, Recycled concrete, titanium dioxide (smog eating cement), PV Cells, Energy Water & Waste innovation, even a Green Roof garden!