Not everyone is willing to think differently. Many professionals simply try to repeat past successes with a reasonable degree of predictability. But these aren’t the people pushing industries forward.
Innovation comes with risk, but when the creative application of business acumen pays off, it pays off in a big way.
Shalom Bellaish has earned many years’ worth of experience in construction as a project manager, engineer, regional manager, and executive VP, and the insights gained from these roles led him to look for ways to drastically improve the way things were done.
His solution? Leveraging AI and computer vision to revolutionize construction projects.
The manifestation of this innovative new strategy is the tech-driven construction platform Constru.ai.
Bellaish is working toward a future of increased construction efficiency and precision, and we were fortunate enough to speak with him about all this and more in the following interview, which we hope will inspire future innovators to think their way past outdated norms to start building the future.
Welcome to AmO. First up, can you share with us your personal definition of innovation?
Bellaish: To me, innovation is any thought or initiative which is “outside the box” of standard practice and brings significant value. In the context of Constru, it is specifically being able to introduce technology to new touchpoints in the construction process in order to add significant value.
As for overseeing innovation strategy, would you say that you’ve always had a strategic mindset?
Bellaish: It has always been my habit to identify pain points, or opportunities, and think of new ways to address them. Whether it’s a high-tech or low-tech solution, I’ve always been driven to think outside the box and challenge norms. To be successful at innovating, you need to ask the right questions while staying focused on the present, learning from the past, and being mindful of the future.
How does your previous experience in engineering inform your work with Constru?
Bellaish: Understanding customer needs is critical in any business, but especially in construction. We work on razor-thin margins, and so every cost must bring immediate and high value. It’s also a well-known fact that there is not enough labor to complete necessary construction globally, so we face quite a severe labor shortage in the industry.
How about your project management experience? How does that come into play regarding your current work?
Bellaish: I’ve held various roles across project management, engineering, regional management, and executive VP roles. This has enabled me to be involved in not only many different projects but also many different roles in a project. This is critical for Constru because we need to provide value to all levels and stakeholders in a project, from the workers on the ground to the executives at HQ.
When working on our project roadmap or innovation priority, I essentially think through my experience in identifying various gaps and pain points and work with our team to find ways for Constru to fill those gaps.
Out of everything you’ve achieved so far, what means the most to you?
Bellaish: Most people go to the same ice cream shop over and over again because it’s the best. I want to prove beyond a doubt that Constru is the best ice cream parlor in town. So far, I’m most proud of the fact that we can meet the needs of clients of all sizes and do it better than anyone else on the market.
Whether it’s a small client working with us per project, or an enterprise client leveraging our technology across all of their projects, our platform provides best-in-class value. We see clients continually come back to us with requests to develop new features to meet more of their needs, and this to me is recognition that we have something special.
What does the average person need to understand about current advances in construction technology?
Bellaish: If you were to compare a project from a century ago, such as the Empire State Building, to a project today, you’ll find that while things have improved, they haven’t necessarily changed. This is critical to keep in mind: there has not been a breakthrough in technology that completely revolutionized the way we build.
We have of course significantly boosted quality, productivity, compliance, and other factors, but the core of what we do is the same. Computer vision and AI, to me, represent revolutionary technology. I truly believe that this is game-changing.
Thank you for speaking with us. Do you have any additional comments to share?
Bellaish: Startups need to show quick wins, so they have to touch everything with the tip of the fork. Construction executives appreciate professionalism and being detail-oriented, so disappointing them is easy.
As the founding member of Constru, I convinced the team to implement a detailed, accurate, and professional system, and today our customers praise us for our professionalism by using our system on all their projects.