Scaleup Ventures

The Insanity of Starting Your Own Business

Podcast interview with Founder of Digital Construction Skills to explore human factors in starting a business.

An episode from the podcast where Saffron Grant, the Founder and Managing Director of Digital Construction Skills shares her insights, learnings and experiences of founding a business.

What is Digital Construction?

Digital construction is the use of technology and digital tools in the construction processes, like design, gathering of materials, and project planning. Any type of digital software or technology used as part of a construction process can be considered digital construction.

The definition of what digital construction is will depend on the organization and the role played within construction projects. However, put simply, digital construction is a new business model that puts digital tools at its heart to improve the process of delivering and operating within the built environment.

Applying digital construction processes doesn’t just benefit an organization, it also optimizes projects. The use of data is improved, working from a single data source is no longer a challenge for the supply chain and the potential to leverage tools and processes such as; automation becomes a reality. There’s never been a better time to transform your productivity and project delivery.

How does Digital Construction work?

Digital construction technologies used today are BIM, cloud computing, reality modeling, AI, etc. Adopting digital technology means implementing a data-driven approach and it could mean that we provide data to control earth moving equipment directly or during leveling and so on automatically.

It could be construction workers on the field who are consuming digital data on their tablet or their phone. It could be the site office on the site using a touch-screen to do a project progress review.

But the most exciting one is the use of new technology to capture construction progress and context. For example a photogrammetry application is flying a drone over the site, taking photos from the site, and automatically creating 3D models that everyone in the construction can see and share.

Video Summary

Saffron Grant and her team work across the construction sector are introducing digital skills, digital techniques, and digital tools to an industry that’s going through quite a rapid and radical change.

She will talk about some of the challenges that are specific to the industry, but also some of those challenges that may be a bit more general that she’s faced around building her team over the past few years. According to her what drove her to start her own business was that she had a toddler and baby at home whom she did not want to leave alone at daycare and also she did not enjoy her career before, thus she wanted to set her own business.

There was a group of people who had her back and did not judge her and encouraged her to start her business in the construction field. In her opinion the mindset of the construction industry is so entrenched that it’s hard to get away from inertia.

As a company founder she brought her own personal values to the company and then has been lucky to find others to recruit who share those values.

In her opinion the experience people learn from and recognize when they are getting close to their goal is important. She thinks the more failures a person has, the more they learn from their failures and mistakes and that feedback from those failures is very important stuff.

Trusting one’s instinct and going for it is also necessary and instinct arguably comes from human DNA, but actually it probably more comes from people’s experience and the ability to recognize something intuitively and then respond and do something differently.

Video Timeline

00:00 – Title sequence
01:27 – Intro & Welcome
02:26 – The journey to founding Digital Construction Skills
05:35 – The challenges and advantages of solo founding
06:23 – Peer networks and advisors
11:11 – The impact of your business environment
13:56 – Enjoying founding the company
15:16 – The challenges of founding a business and growing your team
23:16 – What are you most proud of and what are your key learnings?
28:40 – Saffron’s Founders’ Tool box
31:00 – What would be the title of your book about founding?
33:26 – Closing


Editor of On a mission to build a world leading Scottish digital nation.

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