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Construction sites of the future

Students present their results to Knauf AG

Author: Prof. Dr. Jan Oliver Schwarz

What will construction sites look like in the future? This was the key question for students doing the elective “Strategic Foresight“ in the International Business Development and International Accounting, Controlling and Taxation master’s programmes. The students tackled this demanding task together with Dr Caspar Schauseil, head of the digital hub at Knauf, the leading global construction materials manufacturer, and Professor Dr Jan Oliver Schwarz.  

To find an answer to this question, Professor Dr Jan Oliver Schwarz guided the students through the so called scenario planning method, which was developed around 40 years ago by the energy company Royal Dutch Shell in order to deal with the uncertainty with regard to the future. The core of this approach is not only to predict the future but also to develop plausible images of the future which allow a strategic discussion of an organisation’s long-term orientation.

In the project, four teams were concerned intensively with trends that will have an impact on the future of construction sites and on this basis drew up four scenarios. The students then used these scenarios to reflect on implications for the company Knauf.

“Digitisation poses major challenges for us. It is all the more important for us to understand what trends will develop and have an impact on our business. On the one hand, the student teams have drawn up very provocative scenarios, giving us food for thought. On the other hand, we see this as confirmation that with our many initiatives we are on the right track. Furthermore, working with ESB Business School has provided me with further valuable impulses”, says Dr Caspar Schauseil, summarising the cooperation with ESB Business School.  


Prof. Dr. Jan Oliver Schwarz presents the so-called scenario planning method

Students and Dr. Caspar Schauseil discuss scenarios of the future

Added value for students and Knauf AG