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Roy Woodhead

Roy Woodhead BSc Hons, PhD (Leeds), MCIOB, FRSA

Senior Lecturer in Digital Construction Innovation


Dr Roy Woodhead has had a varied career with long stints in academia, the construction industry and the IT industry. He holds a PhD from the University of Leeds in 'complex inter-organisational decision making' and a first class honours degree from Sheffield City Polytechnic in construction. Using action research as a framework to investigate innovation, he was invited in to many of the world's largest oil & gas projects using Value Management / Value Engineering to help teams of scientists and engineers improve ROI through inter-company collaboration.

  • About

    In 2007 he left academia to start a ten year journey in to Enterprise IT. This enabled him to develop deep knowledge of Enterprise IT Architecture in various roles from innovation manager to programme manager and as a demand creation manager.  Building on domain knowledge from both the construction industry and upstream oil & gas, he became a core member of a R&D team in Hewlett Packard Enterprise that focused on the Industrial Internet and real-time Edge analytics using artificial intelligence and machine learning with poor connectivity to a cloud / data centre.
    Whilst working in the IT industry he continued his interest in Philosophy of Technology and published a paper, "What is Technology?" in 2012 which questioned whether we really control technology or if technology actually controls us as our inner motivations and priorities are shaped by the needs of technological progress itself.

    In 2017 he returned to academia and construction project management when he became a senior lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanties, department of Natural and Built Environment.

    In 2018 he became a senior lecturer in Sheffield Business School to be part of their digital innovation ambitions.

    Senior Lecturer

  • Teaching

    Roy teaches on a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses within the SBS programmes.

    His student-centric approach places a key emphasis on reflective practice as a means to raise levels of awareness. This is about enabling educational transformation to transcend and include earlier educational levels as greater awareness and deeper capability are established. Key to his approach is the recognition that both the student and lecturer are together in a transformational process and so his methods are about education 'with' rather than 'to' students.

  • Research

    Roy's new research interest (started in 2017) combines large scale innovation with Internet of Things (IoT), digital innovations and Participative Action Research (PAR) to drive value creation through digital innovation.

    Previous research interests have been focused on innovation in major capital projects linked to Organisational Learning (OL) as a way to meet both short term business objectives and build a capability that unlocks future potential.

  • Publications

    A list of publications is available from the institutional repository, SHURA

    Roy spent 10 years in industry and only published one paper during this period. The listing below is mainly from 1998 to 2007 whilst a Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University.

    Journal papers

    • Woodhead, R (2018) Building a Smart City Bit by Bit: experiments with LoRaWAN in Sheffield. CSID AUN-SCUD International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure and Urban Development, 12 – 14 November 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia
    • Woodhead, R.M., Stephenson, P. and Morrey, D. (2018) Digital Construction: From Point Solutions to IoT Eco-system. Automation in Construction 93 35–46
    • Woodhead, R.M. “What is Technology?” International Journal of Sociotechnology and Knowledge Development. (2012) Vol 4, Issue 2: pp 1 to 13
    • Woodhead, R.M. and Berawi, M.A. ‘An Alternative Theory of Idea Generation’. International Journal of Management Practice. (2008) vol. 3, issue 1, pages 1-19
    • Woodhead, R.M. Ball, F. and Li, X. “Silk flowers are just as artificial as plastic ones”. European Journal of Engineering Education. (2004) vol. 29, No 3, pp 333-341. 
    • Woodhead, R.M. & Smith, J. “The decision to build and the organisation”. Structural Survey. (2002) vol. 20 No.5 pp 189-198. 
    • Woodhead, R.M. & Downs, C.G. “Facilitation as a Research Method to Improve Value Management Capabilities”, Journal of Construction Research, (2002) vol. 3, No. 2. pp 209-216. 
    • Woodhead, R.M., “An investigation of the early stages of project formulation”, Facilities Management, MCB Press; (2001) ol.18; 13/14, 524-534. 
    • Woodhead, R.M., “A l’écoute des clients du management par la valeur au Royaume-Uni par MM”. Revue Francaise de Gestion Industrielle. (2001) 20:2. 43-50. 
    • Woodhead, R.M., “From Individual Perspectives to a Global Potential” Journal of Construction Research, (2000) 1, 87-90. 
    • Woodhead, R.M. and Male, S.P., “The conditioning effect of objective decision making on the client’s capital proposal”, Engineering Construction and Architectural Management, Blackwell Science; (2000) 7(3), September 300-306. 
    • Woodhead, R.M., “Moving VM into the Strategic formulation phase: A methodology for joint Venture forming workshops, Value World, Society of American Value Engineers International (SAVE International), (1998) 21(3) Fall, 8-14. 
    • Woodhead, R.M., “Exploring the Hurdle Rate in Preparation for A Value Management Workshop”, Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction, (1997) 2 (2), August, 21-37. 

      Technical paper
    • Key note speaker at Hong Kong Institute of Value Management Conference, Hong Kong, 2005
    • Key note speaker at Society of American Value Engineers Conference in San Antonio, Texas, 1999

    •  J.J. Kaufman and R.M. Woodhead, “Stimulating Innovation in Products and Services”, (2006), Hoboken NJ: Wiley
    • R.M. Woodhead and J.D. McCuish, “Achieving Results: How to Create Value”, (2003), London: Thomas Telford 
    •  R.M. Woodhead and C.G. Downs, “Value Management: Improving Capabilities”, (2001), London: Thomas Telford 

      Book chapter
    • R.M. Woodhead, and J. Michel, “Value management's Creative-Destruction via Digitalised Innovation: The Winning Plan”, In Corsie, P., Christofol, H., Richir, S., Samier, H. (2006) “Innovation Engineering: The Power of Intangible Networks.” 2006, Paris: Hermes Science Publications
  • Postgraduate supervision

    Roy teaches on Masters programmes within Sheffield Hallam's Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanties, in the department of Natural and Built Environment. This also includes supervising MSc student dissertations.

    Previously Roy supervised two doctoral students to successful completion and was an External PhD Examiner at UMIST, School of Civil Engineering.

  • Media

    Roy's approach to 'applied' research begins with a 'purposeful' outcome that is worthy and measurable. This can be seen in his current focus on Digital Innovation.

    He combines qualitative research which often yields guiding theory and quantitative research to test if new theory actually works. This approach sits within an established Organisational Learning approach known as "Double Loop Learning" (Argyris, 2000) which surfaces insights as a team.

    All of this sits within a Participative Action Research strategy as the aim is to produce large scale innovation which is measurable and clearly benefits those suffering from the lack of affordable homes today as well as hopefully unlocking new innovations and new business models in the context of Digital Innovation.

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