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In an era of rapid change, how can we identify and respond to seismic shifts impacting the AEC industry?


The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries are experiencing pressures from the convergence of new technologies, extreme weather events, and changing socio-economic factors.


OCAD U CO was approached by a leading construction company to help their strategy and innovation leadership team identify and make sense of the biggest shifts impacting the AEC industry and develop the capabilities to better anticipate and respond to these largescale drivers of change.


Through a strategic foresight horizon scan, we identified more than 200 emerging signals and trends occurring across social, technological, environmental, economic, and political domains.


Through expert and stakeholder interviews, we then synthesized and identified the 17 most significant and impactful drivers of change.


In order to help our client better understand the possible implications and impacts of the drivers of change for them and their partners, we developed a bespoke strategic foresight tool based on the 17 drivers of change. 


We then tested the tool through interactive workshops with several groups of high-profile stakeholders in order to better understand how to make it the most effective and fit-for-purpose.


Through the strategic foresight tool, our client and their partners in the AEC industry were better able to identify and anticipate possible impacts of the most significant drivers of change impacting each of their organizations. As a result, they are developing more resilient, innovative and anticipatory strategies. 


We believe that within the design and construction industry, strategic foresight is a sorely under-utilized process. Our idea was that if we could create a foresight tool that was simple to use and understand, yet rooted in real-world research and rigour, that we could help companies in our space enhance their agility and resilience. OCAD U CO has helped us do exactly that.

The OCAD U CO team brings great insight into design and foresight processes. Across a journey of close to three years and through several projects and iterations, OCAD U CO helped us create the Future/Ready tool and associated Signals deck. Possible use cases for the tool have grown dramatically.


We fully expect that it will drive not only our own thinking but that of many others within multiple industries, creating greater resilience in each.

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