The “Future of Buildings” project: the Chair for Foresight, Innovation & Transformation (FIT) supports new generations as they envisage the future of the construction sector

Facing huge challenges (reducing carbon emissions, digitalisation and the struggle to attract skilled labour), the construction sector is seeking to reinvent its operating approaches and develop a…

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26 Nov 2021

Facing huge challenges (reducing carbon emissions, digitalisation and the struggle to attract skilled labour), the construction sector is seeking to reinvent its operating approaches and develop a vision for buildings that goes further to meet the challenges of sustainability. This is a subject at the heart of the research carried out by the FIT Chair, focusing on innovation, foresight and the future transformations of our world. The Chair supports businesses as they prepare to navigate the economic, political and regulatory changes ahead in the coming years.

As part of their Foresight and Strategic Design courses, 350 students from two master’s programmes at EDHEC Business School – the MSc in Strategy, Organisation & Consulting and MSC in Marketing Management – are taking part in the “Future of Buildings” research project led by René Rohrbeck, Director of the FIT Chair. The objective: to envisage the future of the building industry in 2040. The scenarios developed provide a springboard for new ideas in the construction sector, paving the way for its transition to a greener future. Each of the 60 teams of 5 or 6 students will be tasked with working on one of 18 challenges linked to the four scenarios developed by the FIT Chair of EDHEC Business School, together with UK engineering design and consulting firm, ARUP.


Scenario 1 - Giants rule the AEC industry

Tech giants are driving the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) industry: the shift to smart lifestyles has changed the way we interact with buildings, the use of data has brought sweeping change to the entire construction landscape, business opportunities create demand for technical expertise that only these firms can meet.


Scenario 2 - Circular Future

Dialogue has been established between the various stakeholders in our societies: construction has become circular and virtuous, an achievement driven by policymakers, industry players and consumers working together. As a result, biodegradable building materials are produced to meet strict specifications, and the industry is embracing environmental and social responsibility, which goes hand-in-hand with economic growth.


Scenario 3 - Public sector leadership

Public sector leadership: private sector construction is struggling to meet the challenges of climate change and has to join forces with the public sector. Consequently, governments are becoming more involved in companies’ operations, forcing them to pay attention to their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the types of materials and resources they use.


Scenario 4 - Abundant green energy

Green energy is in abundant supply and readily available: the electrification of housing and transport is becoming mainstream, sparking a wave of renovation in Europe with a focus on revamping the existing building stock.


To enable some of the sector’s leading companies to weigh in on the debate, the FIT chair has brought together six prominent partner companies for the “Future of Buildings” project, alongside its “Chair Partner”, Somfy. This high level of involvement also extends to a wider ecosystem of companies keen to play their part in shaping the future of the building sector (circularity, new materials, digitalisation, etc.). The presentation of the 18 challenges will happen on December 13, when all the project partners will attend an event on the Lille campus of EDHEC Business School.


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