FAR's research into technical change investigates how building products developed in suitable sectors could be targeted to act indirectly as Trojan horses for horizontal product innovation in other sectors.

The term innovation describes a process of ‘marginal substitution’, whereby a specific task with defined objectives is carried out in a way that uses either a differently structured or a new combination of components, or alters tested procedures.

Since the building industry does not provide the same level of means, motives and opportunities for beneficial technical change evenly across its sectors, we could exploit our ability to understand what makes a context conducive to particular strands of innovation, and assign products in that context explicit ‘industrial development’ responsibilities.