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Why Innovation Matters & 3 Ways to Practice it Daily

Tomorrow’s cities will be shaped by the strategies commercial real estate owners employ today. We spend time reading, listening, and gathering at sessions and conferences to explore better ways to do what we do, to build the best tech stacks, to leverage data, implement new and better ways to improve tenant experiences.

"Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation." – Dean Kamen

New models and methodologies continue challenging us to approach old problems in entirely different ways. One thing will never change, not since the first project began,

innovation matters.

“[innovation is] central to the success of any business and it must be an integral part of a business strategy.”– Jose Costa, writing for HuffPost 

This is a different approach to innovation, less something that happens occasionally and more “innovation is what we do.” Regardless of your role within an organization, no matter the impact of your contributions, remaining competitive in an ever-changing landscape means releasing what’s normal in favor of what’s effective.

Within commercial real estate, some things will never change. We acquire real estate assets or interest in them, invest in their construction, improvement, and upgrades to grow their value, we hold them, and we convert or dispose of them.

We no longer deny the impact of technology on our capacity to execute our core competencies in less time and to greater effect; PropTech reduces timelines, controls costs, provides greater insight.




JLL Spark co-CEO Mihir Shah confirms the necessity of innovation in his assessment of trends that will dominate commercial real estate in 2019 and beyond, saying,  

“This willingness to try new things will help PropTech adoption in 2019 and beyond.” 

Innovation is...

never being afraid to imagine what could be instead of remaining constrained by what is. Innovation demands an embrace of the unknown. Like any Gordian Knot, our biggest challenges require bold action, fueled by creative thinking. Fast Company compiled a list of exercises to inspire creative thinking. We’re recommending three things you can implement right now, every day, to not only practice innovative thinking but to incorporate it into the way you approach the world.

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“What else can I do with this?”

Innovation often results from seeing the same things everyone else does but applying or implementing them differently or repurposing them entirely. Consider the Post-It note.

Keep it Simple.

Just because an internal process has always taken several steps and meetings doesn’t mean it needs to be this way. Have you ever endured a long and painful process only to create a template and automate the same task going forward?

Imagine completing a task start to finish once, and then automating and updating it based on your own best practices. How much time could you save? 


Try swapping systems.

According to Fast Company, “Applying a ready-made, successful, tried and trusted existing system from one area of practice to another can lead to great innovation.”

Is another department or team getting something done in a way you really admire?  Consider trying it; do you know how Dyson was inspired to create his vacuum cleaner?

Fired up by all of this creative inspiration? Don’t miss Catalyst, a commercial real estate conference unlike anything you’ve experienced. Hear from thought leaders within, and entirely outside commercial real estate.  Chat with professionals with whom you rarely collaborate in your 9-to-5. Leave inspired. Leave curious. Leave engaged, and prepared to tackle the unexpected. Remember, innovation matters.


Rochelle A. Carter-Wilson

Written by Rochelle A. Carter-Wilson

Rochelle is the Content Marketing Manager for Honest Buildings. a Procore Company. She creates stories and other on-brand content to inform and engage owners and other members of the Commercial Real Estate industry.

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