Book Reviews about BIG FIXES

Nick Baveystock, Director General, Institution of Civil Engineers

The global construction industry has made significant strides in understanding how collaborative thinking can drive better programme outcomes. I have worked with Garry Bowditch over several years, and his latest book BIG FIXES takes us to the next, arguably more important, level.

This is a well-crafted, carefully thought-through book for infrastructure professionals which places social and economic outcome-based thinking at the heart of the debate. Too often, a procurement process results in something which is not quite what the client needs. The engineering may be exceptional: but, like it or not, the public first and foremost want infrastructure to drive better social and economic outcomes for them. That needs a much deeper and clearer discussion to help clients specify the economic and social outcomes they need, forcing those designing and constructing infrastructure to challenge themselves whether a traditional answer fits a non-traditional question.

Garry lays out truisms on trust, agility of thought, and choices: things we should all know but often forget. As Sir John Armitt notes: if we can take on half of his recommendations, we stand some chance of creating better infrastructure for future generations. BIG FIXES should be a must-read for clients determining and specifying the social and economic outcomes they actually need.

Governor Martin O’Malley, Former Governor Maryland and Mayor of Baltimore

Societies improve the well-being of their people, not by locking money in a vault, but by distributing human solutions to human problems more efficiently, more sustainably, and more broadly.

“BIG FIXES,” is a clarion call to the deeper and more life-giving instincts of our humanity. It is a call not merely to rebuild the failing infrastructure of our past, but to build anew with a clear eye toward the further future.  

Garry Bowditch helps us understand that the success of our efforts — in these critical times of environmental and social change — requires “a more profound practice of reciprocity.”   It requires a way of building, living, and governing that strengthens our trust in one another and our faith in a better tomorrow.

Ross Israel, Head Global Infrastructure, QIC

Infrastructure investors should heed the call of BIG FIXES. As fiduciaries of capital the cross over to being owners of infrastructure is brought out by Garry Bowditch’s focus on the importance of stakeholder primacy and customer stewardship. 

In delivering resilience and future-proofing the infrastructure they own, long term institutional investors have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference to deliver lasting intergenerational legacies. 

They are uniquely positioned in a world decarbonising, digitalising and decentralising to be active FIXERS, it’s a timely call to action!

Sir John Armitt CBE, Chairman, National Infrastructure Commission, United Kingdom

As the world emerges from the shadow of Covid the need to invest in infrastructure to grow our economies is a common theme. Will these investments, public or private, result in real long term benefits to our societies. If we continue as in the past it is questionable.

BIG FIXES argues for the central importance that citizens have an underlying trust in the decisions of professionals, politicians and their policies. The need for openness and transparency in the debate of options, and costs which ultimately are born by the citizen, for collaboration between stakeholders, the use of reliable data and the wise use of land which once purposed is not easily repurposed. Whole life considerations, recognition of legacy, the risk of planning and designing for the short term and failing to recognise future technologies and their impacts.

As engineers, architects, planners and of course politicians we expect the citizen to trust us to develop infrastructure and systems which are completely reliable and resilient.

Systems which recognise the complexity and interconnectivity and the potential of several risks happening simultaneously.

BIG FIXES is an important reminder of our responsibilities and a guide to enable better outcomes especially by putting foremost the end customer, listening to what good means for them not what simply creates a good business case.

Garry Bowditch does not pretend it is easy but if we can take on board half of his recommendations then we stand some chance of creating better infrastructure for future generations.

Professor Ian Harper AO, Dean Melbourne Business School, Melbourne University, Australia

If your vision of infrastructure is roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, then your vision is too narrow. Let Garry Bowditch widen your perspective to think about infrastructure as the gift that current generations pay forward to future generations.

When we invest in infrastructure, we express hope for the future. We also create the future, since good infrastructure empowers human beings to trust and collaborate with one another, and this in turn unleashes human ingenuity and creativeness that literally fashion the future.

BIG FIXES will change the way you think about infrastructure but, more fundamentally, it will change the way you think about the future, and how to secure the hope of brighter and better things to come.

Marion Terrill, Transport and Cities Program Director, Grattan Institute

There’s no shortage of reports, papers, books and analysis on every conceivable aspect of infrastructure. And yet, this one is different. Garry has stepped back from the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, and instead asked ‘why’. It’s a very personal perspective on infrastructure – what it’s really for, will it still be good in the future, and is the best way to get what we want and need from it. Well done, Garry.

Mike Mrdak AO

BIG FIXES and the principles of customer stewardship so well explained by Garry Bowditch shows us that our infrastructure not only drives our economic lives it shapes how we operate as a community. 

A strong community is dependent on whether our investments actually provide the improved services we all need and are procured in the way we need them to strengthen our social bonds and goals. 

Public policy professionals and all those planning and procuring the investments for the future should read this as part of their thinking about the responsibility they have for shaping enduring and positive legacies.

Les Hosking

The time has come for all non-executive directors to fulfil our duties more consistently in orchestrating long term meaningful change. Garry Bowditch recognises there are many challenges, but BIG FIXES will help clear your mind about what is really important to transforming business – great collaborations and opening the gates of human ingenuity. Done well new technologies and digitisation of [infrastructure] services are a powerful ally in putting customers back in control.

BIG FIXES will engage and provoke all boardroom members with insights, examples, and frameworks to start today in building bridges to a better future for all.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, CEO Brisbane Airport Corporation, Australia

Airports present the ultimate opportunity for customer-focused infrastructure development with connectivity and informed customer choice being its underpinning objectives.

Our vision of “Connect the World Create the Future” reflects the very same principles Garry Bowditch promotes in BIG FIXES for all public infrastructure including serving all through effective engagement, setting ambitious goals with inherent adaptiveness to meet the customers’ future needs of total network connectivity and the opportunity for customers, consumers, and stakeholders to make informed choices when visiting Brisbane Airport.