SIOR Redefines the Future
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LAS VEGAS-The future was very much on stage at opening sessions of the SIOR Spring World Conference here. And although the words came in two different sessions, the message was the same: The Future Is Closer Than You Think.
Futurist Jack Uldrich warned attendees at the opening keynote session that technology is “exploding exponentially and those business leaders who turn away from that fact are doomed for obsolescence. And yes, that means commercial real estate pros too."
Consider, he said, such current innovations as Google Glass, which will allow you to communicate with colleagues and clients, or 3D printing, which will push manufacturing from overseas to local markets. “GE predicts that by 2017, it will be printing aircraft parts,” he said.
Now, what will that do to your traditional notions of the supply chain? Other current innovations such as grocery shopping via your cellphone have major implications as well for both the retail and distribution markets.
“If this is where we are today,” he said, “it can only get faster, better and more affordable.” Uldrich cited a European warehouse facility that installed 10,000 sensors to monitor a myriad of building functions and can predict when equipment will break down. “If your buildings aren’t smart, you’re on the wrong side of the change curve.”
The warning bell of change was sounded as well by Gensler managing director Beth Campbell, who reported how the architecture firm is tracking the shifting shape of the modern office. Today’s layouts better support a flat corporate hierarchy, she noted, and it is increasingly incumbent upon decision makers to ask the right questions about individual space needs at the outset.
Toward that end, she noted that her dream design team includes the department managers and the HR director as well as the leasing and design teams.
Based on Gensler’s most recent US Workplace Survey, Campbell noted that there are three major factors workplace designers of all stripes need to consider:
1) US workers are struggling to work efficiently;
2) Effective workplaces balance focus and collaboration; and
3) Choice drives innovation and performance.
Both speakers emphasized the need to recognize the changes that are happening around you. Uldrich recommended three ways to do this:
“Give yourself permission to step away from the focus of your daily job to talk with outsiders about how the world is changing.”
He urged a “think week,” a major block of time dedicated to thinking about your future.
Finally, he said to give up on answers and start asking questions in what he called “pre-mortems. It’s 10 years in the future and I am out of business. What did I not see coming?”
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