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Speculation beyond technology: building scenarios through storytelling

Dowsett, R. M. ORCID:, Green, M. S. and Harty, C. F. (2022) Speculation beyond technology: building scenarios through storytelling. Buildings and Cities, 3 (1). pp. 534-553. ISSN 2632-6655 (Special collection: Modern methods of construction: beyond productivity improvement)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.5334/bc.213


‘Modern methods of construction’ is a term largely synonymous with the prefabrication of product components in factories. Emerging technologies, e.g. robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), are redefining the concept of modern methods of construction and destabilising the structure of the sector to meet the conditions of their implementation. Robotics and machine-based automation, for example, are expected to transform construction manufacturing techniques in rapid and significant ways, but the extent of change and the associated impacts on organisations, supply chains and business models that constitute the sector remains unknown. Existing foresight is dominated by trajectorial perspectives that overemphasise technological predictions and underemphasise the contextual stories of implementation most helpful in understanding technology adoption. An alternative approach presented here focuses on storytelling, the design of the scenarios and the visual images used to help convey these scenarios. These allow practitioners to explore how robotics and machine-based automation may play out in different characterisations of the industry. The research involved the analysis of an existing dataset to create four scenarios, before adapting and extending these scenarios through participatory workshops and interviews. Project participants were comprised of seven small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in manufacturing and architectural fabrication, one tier 1 contractor, and two acclaimed industry experts from an industry advisory board and education centre.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering
ID Code:107562
Uncontrolled Keywords:automation, construction industry, future studies, innovation, modern methods of construction (MMC), robotics, scenario planning, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), strategic planning, technological change
Publisher:Ubiquity Press


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