That about wraps it up for our CoreNet Global Spring 2011 Summit blog. As always, it was a great way to make connections, catch up with old friends, and advance the conversation on the issues that affect our industry. The next Global Summit is in Paris in September. After that, you’ll be hearing from us in the Americas again just before the Atlanta Summit November 6-8.
The SNAP session by Henry Cheung of IDEO was interesting. He showed how non-traditional work arrangements, often combining people from many disciplines and multiple companies, can empower innovation and inspire employees to creative solutions. At one point, he noted that flexibility in work styles is increasingly regarded as a right, not a privilege. Since most knowledge workers today are mobile and are expected to be accessible on off-hours, flexibility is clearly becoming a fact of life.
In the past, IDEO executives have talked about innovation in terms of the willingness to embrace failure. Put another way, the only way to be innovative is to be undeterred by the uncertainty and complexity of our increasingly fast-paced world, but taking action without certainty about the outcome is bound to lead to failure some of the time. Thus, the willingness to fail is a necessary ingredient to success when it comes to innovation.
Strategy and Portfolio Planning’s (SPP) Optimizing Capital Task Force, which I lead with Richard Podos, sponsored a well-attended panel discussion to explore the one constant amidst today’s ever-changing social dynamics: money talks. But what is the language of money? Do we share a common grammar across the corporate real estate community?
In the panel’s collective experience, there is very little consistency in the approach to decision-making when it comes to investing capital in corporate portfolios. Our discussion started with a recounting of a few real-life “horror stories.” For example, the Fortune 500 CFO who compared purchasing a new building to buying his house and asserted that his cost of capital was the CD rate (and whose company no longer exists). These tales were proceeded by exploring a few of the many analytical frameworks, discount rates, and theories of capital efficiency in use today that lead to very different conclusions and often with large financial consequences.
The panel also summarized the results of a recent Task-Force sponsored survey about current trends and practices, which lent additional support to the basic thesis that a consistent doctrine or framework is not part of current practice. There appears to be no real reason why this must be so, because as a very general statement, the underlying financial principles should be valid across industries.
In my mind, the panel’s discussion served mainly as a public recognition that a problem exists, and as a starting point toward its definition. The solution remains to be found; but on a hopeful note, the session ended with a challenge from the audience to the panel: if the problem exists and is of real magnitude, and if a consistent doctrine can be defined, the panel and Task Force should commit themselves to developing and promulgating such a doctrine. We were happy to accept—stay tuned.
If you’re interested in this topic and would like to follow or participate in our progress, please join our conference calls, held at 2:00 p.m. EDT on the first Tuesday of every month. You can dial in on 866 259 9955, participant code 639 280 0987.
I had an eye-opening experience today at one of the breakout sessions: Young Leaders Leveraging Social Media. This was an interactive presentation on Social Media and Corporate Real Estate. The panel was comprised of Young Leaders who spoke about LinkedIn and Twitter and the value these tools can bring to developing business and staying connected.
The audience was grouped into round tables of 10. Each table was designated either “LinkedIn” or “Twitter” and had one Young Leader available (computer plugged in and all) to help those at their respective tables with their social media questions. I showed them how to set up profiles and privacy settings and explained how to tap into the benefits of LinkedIn.
These were people whom we Young Leaders look up to for their seasoned, real estate expertise. Yet, when it came to social media, my Young Leader colleagues and I were the teachers. It’s a reminder that valuable information does not flow in just one direction—a good lesson not only for inter-generational discussions but also in diversity initiatives such as those that Jones Lang LaSalle pursues.
Greeting from CoreNet Chicago! I just attend a SNAP session on the dynamics influencing workplace design. The conversation revolved around the crucial role that workplace plays in influencing employee behavior.
The shiny bead I took away is that real estate professionals should be purveyors of experience versus physical borders. So to that end, as corporate occupiers evaluate the complexities of workplace design, shouldn’t the discussion start with what kind of experience encourages employees to achieve enterprise-wide business goals?
Over the last two days, companies have identified increased productivity, efficiency and innovation as the key levers of success in today’s business world. The best corporate offices of the future will support these outcomes. They will be designed to foster an experience that lends itself to the company’s brand and culture. The most successful workspace design will be flexible, empower innovation, create multi-dimensional experiences and attract the best and brightest talent.