How innovation champions frame the future : three visions for digital transformation of construction

Ernstsen, Sidsel Nymark and Whyte, Jennifer and Thuesen, Christian and Maier, Anja (2021) How innovation champions frame the future : three visions for digital transformation of construction. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 147 (1). 1928. (

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Digital technologies are expected to create transformational change in the construction sector. Previous studies have either anticipated the impact of individual technologies or outlined a number of nontechnology-focused future scenarios. There is comparatively little work on how innovation champions frame the future by combining a range of digital technologies and trends (such as big data, the internet of things, and automation) to transform construction. Drawing on an interview-based study with UK construction professionals, this paper presents three emergent visions for digital transformation of the sector. These visions are efficient construction, user-data-driven built environment, and value-driven computational design. Arising in practitioner narratives, these visions all emphasize different technologies and are partially influenced, intertwined, and interconnected with technology, business, and policy discourses in the sector. Furthermore, the visions represent different trajectories for implementing digital technologies in the construction sector. This paper contributes to work on construction foresight and innovation discourses by articulating the multiplicity of visions for digital transformation of construction. This has implications for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers responsible for the digital transformation of construction toward possible, profitable, and desirable futures.