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Preparing Students for a Disruptive Construction Future

8 pagesPublished: October 23, 2017

Abstract

Many industries have felt the impact of disruptive change on their profitability and established practices. Examples of disruption have been documented in industries as diverse as transportation, photography, newspapers, retailing, recorded music and computer graphics. The construction industry has mostly avoided large-scale disruption because, in spite of the globalisation evident in mega projects, most construction is locally-based and delivered within a specific national context and regulatory system. This may be about to change. The forces of digitisation, industrialisation and globalisation are combining to generate the potential for disruptive enterprises which will grab market share and shake up existing business models. As academics striving to prepare students to be employment-ready, we need to open their eyes to the potential of the new economy to support new business models that are quite different from traditional construction companies. Students will need to be entrepreneurial in seeking out opportunities and identifying market niches. In two new and developing units/subjects at an Australian university these issues are being raised. Students are challenged to identify markets and market strategies enabled by social enterprises, collaborative systems, the ‘Internet of Things’ and even ‘Brutal Innovation’. Using student feedback and reflective practice, the lessons from the first two offerings of the new units are identified and teased out. In general, students respond well to the challenge of strategic thinking which relates to their future careers. While predicting the future is always fraught with difficulty, not attempting to do so could leave us vulnerable to disruptive change.

Keyphrases: Construction futures, Digitisation, disruption, Globalisation, industrialisation, Innovation, Internet of Things

In: Marsha Lamb (editor). AUBEA 2017: Australasian Universities Building Education Association Conference 2017, vol 1, pages 70--77

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