For several years, members of the Think Up team have given presentations as part of the Cambridge Construction Engineering Masters course. In early 2014 we were asked the course coordinators to help them curate their week-long residential course on Innovation in Construction.
Our proposal was to run the week’s activities as a deep-immersion role-play in which teams masters students would take on the role of a staff in a strategic change unit in a large-scale construction company. At the start of the week, teams would have to learn how to and then carry out forecasting exercises to enable to assess the opportunities and threats to their firms. They would then be asked to assess a range of new technologies in the construction sector to see if any of these would help their organisations make the most of the opportunities or avoid the threats they anticipated. The final stage would then be to develop a change management plan through which the new technology would be integrated into company processes and present their recommendations to the board.
To reinforce the personal context of the learning, we provided students with a pre-briefing pack which was intended to prompt thinking about the subject matter before the beginning of the course, and to encourage participants to identify examples from their own companies that they could bring into the classroom.
The activities that we proposed were woven between regular lectures and seminars so that the students had an opportunity to put into practice what they were hearing in the lecture theatre. The activities we designed and facilitated were well received by the students and were able to achieve much higher levels of engagement than traditional teaching methods.