Ph.d. student standing in front of whiteboard with technology cards.  Sidsel Katrine Ernstsen (SER)
Sidsel Katrine Ernstsen, business PhD student and MSc Engineering in design and innovation, has identified a number of digital technologies, which she expects to be of decisive significance in the building and construction business and presents these 22 Technology Cards.

Playing cards inspire to digital development in the construction

The classic playing cards with car-cards got its counterpart in 22 Technology Cards. The new set of cards is developed by PhD student Katrine Ernstsen, and indicates how new technologies can affect and develop the construction area.

09. Jul 2019

Three groups of engaged NIRAS employees are divided at two whiteboards and a table. They are hectically moving 22 cards around, where each card describes digital technologies that are going to impact the building and construction business.

The assignment is to divide the cards according to three conditions:

  1. When will the new technologies affect us?
  2. Which technologies play well together?
  3. Which digital technologies are most important to NIRAS?

It is more difficult than you think. The participants rearrange the cards several times, what is actually the most important right now? ’Big Data Analytics’ or ’Augmented Reality (AR)? – and could NIRAS already be leading on the market within this technology?

Advantages and disadvantages for the business

The cards with the 22 technologies are named Technology Cards, and the PhD researcher got the inspiration for the cards from the 80’ies car-cards. Each individual technology is described shortly – complemented with advantages and disadvantages for the business and how much they influence the building or the construction project’s three phases: design, construction and operation.

For example, the technology-card ‘Virtual Reality (VR)' is an advantage for ’Better design on the account of user involvement’ and an advantage for ’Better corporation among the construction parties’, but a disadvantage for ’Limited communication possibilities as the VR-user is isolated from the real world’.

Tool for a strategic dialogue and conversation

The playing cards are one of the preliminary conclusions in MSc Engineering Sidsel Katrine Ernstsen business PhD in corporation with NIRAS and DTU Management. The object of the research project is partly to discover what digital disruption is and partly what it means for the future building and construction business.

”I developed the cards to facilitate strategic dialogues on how the future building and construction site is to be framed. In the construction business, a comprehensive process of digitalization is in progress, but which technologies that will influence the future and in which way is hard to predict. The cards are going to assist in talking about it,” says Sidsel Katrine Ernstsen.

The Gamification-part is genius

The building and construction business is already well underway in becoming digitalised, however it is primarily by streamlining the already existing processes at the area, e.g. through BIM - Building Information Model.

”Sidsel’s playing cards open up a much broader discussion on how the technologies influence the business and where the imagination gets free rein. I think that the idea with the playing cards is genius – the entire gamification-part, where you can play with the cards and thereby bring out the ideas is much more effective than the traditional open workshops in which almost nothing is on the cards,” says vice president for AREA, Christian Holmegaard Mossing. 


From 133 to 22
Sidsel Katrine Ernstsen has based her business PhD project on 133 known technologies and ten reflections on technologies in the future construction, stated by World Economic Forum. She has reduced those to 22 core technologies based on the definition that a technology can both be an artefact as construction robots and automotive machines and a process as 3D printing and big data a big data analytics.