CRE

Imagine that a child was given school homework, to make a PowerPoint slide of Mum’s journey to and from work. It may look like this: https://app.box.com/s/w19otbry4gt53m3zfs3q – hopefully not too much better, as I’ve just done that with basic clipart!

Now, imagine how much of that picture might make little sense to a school-child in 2040 (or, thereabouts). Or at least, I truly hope that it would not be a ‘normal’ daily journey. It might make a fairly interesting educational boardgame actually? Roll a pair of sixes, to work from home. Dash it, I rolled two ones – have to catch that crowded commuter train again….any entrepreneurs out there, call me!

Transport infrastructure is a political hot-potato, probably in any city or densely populated region. But, one has to ask the question, is infrastructure the right way to spend our way to a better future? Politicians seem to think so. Look at our ‘boardgame’ though, and it would be immediately obvious to a child that there are many options other than travelling the winding route all the way to the corporate office.

My regional partner in Australia, Martin Leitch, was telling me about his home city of Melbourne on our regular call last week. Aparently it is currently expanding faster than Sydney. This is creating a serious issue with travel into the CBD, and the politicians (like everywhere) seem to believe that throwing money at transport infrastructure is the solution. So, we got discussing whether they should redefine infrastructure as a wider support for working in a different way. That infrastructure should include places, spaces and technology which allows people to do their work without travelling too far from where they live. Just like our boardgame picture – walking to a ‘desk’ in a coffee shop, or using the beleaguered Main Street which has been starved of customers since the advent of out-of-town shopping centres. Or perhaps even travelling to the railway hub, but not boarding any train! Why not – lots of parking and buses, so why not have a ‘work-hub’ at every rail hub?

It is all about city, urban, suburban, and rural planning. Land economics – what is the best economic use of land. The cost to live in the centre of cities, even if one wanted to, is always going to be too high for most families. The cool CBD is for the young professionals, singles, affluent couples without children, and a few ’empty-nesters’. Unless you are very wealthy, the rest of us need to commute to an office from various distances away from the centre. That daily grind seems to get more expensive, and stressful (due to many factors – overcrowding, delays, etc.).

It is also not sustainable, in the human or environmental sense. Carbon has had a price now for many years, due to schemes such as the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. And that carbon ‘price’ will only rise over time. Add that to the actual ‘real’ fuel cost of travel, commuting will become a balance between necessity and affordability. It will be reduced, and ‘rationed’ in effect, to the one or two days a week that a person actually needs to be ‘co-located’ with the rest of their team in order to stay sufficiently ‘in touch’. But, commuting five days a week over long distances will surely be deemed wasteful, and environmentally damaging – not to mention costly and inefficient.

Then, there are the social pressures on families, especially – childcare, and elderly or carer responsibilities. It would be far easier, for many working people who also have carer responsibilities, to be able to get home in a shorter amount of time. There is no time to expand on that here, but there is extensive literature available on flexible working, and many governments are supporting with legislation.

In our little real estate world, who should be interested in all this? Real estate economists and developers, for sure – what they develop, and specifically where, needs to change. There will not be the demand for tertiary office space, especially older and inflexible property stock. Occupiers will need less space in the corporate ‘head office’, but what they do need will be good quality, highly flexible, in attractive locations where people can easily access transport links.

They will invest in fewer, smaller, high-spec ‘hubs’ in key cities – and they can spend a little of what they have saved on attracting and retaining staff, by giving them some form of flexible workspace ‘clubcard’ to access a facility closer to home.

Aha, the lamp lights – what will these ‘local centres’ look like? Well they may look like the existing small town Main Streets, retail centres, and rail hubs as mentioned above. Most of the buildings that we will be using in 2040, of course, already exist – we only add a little to the ‘stock’ every year. But those existing buildings can be redesigned, and refurbished of course (developers eyes light up too, now). Property development opportunities. Also the creation of a new service economy, aimed at making peoples’ working day more effective – and attracting them to their ‘local centre’. It will have to be high quality though – if you have worked in central city locations for years, and now you are contemplating working 2-3 days a week in your local hub, it can’t feel like second-class experience. But, if we get the quality of facility and experience right, people will come – they will not mourn the loss of their daily commute into the corporate office. After all, they will still commute once or twice a week, to stay in touch, socialize, meet clients, or for many other reasons. And if commuting is not a daily grind, it may become a welcome trip to see friends. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!

So, perhaps the question should have been, not ‘what’ was, but ‘why’ did we commute Grandma? That one, I’ll leave to you to ponder!

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by Paul Carder (paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com); Twitter: @paulcarder

When Terry Hall of Fun Boy Three brought Bananarama in as backing vocals in 1982, to release “It ain’t what you do, its the way that you do it”, he couldn’t have foreseen it being quoted in a blog about work, work-styles and workplaces! But here it is, and its true – its the way that you do it, that’s what gets results. Organizations of all kinds are about getting results, for their investors, customers, charitable donators, voters, or any other group of stakeholders. So, one has to question why managers so often feel the need not only to allocate work (‘what’ you do), but also to manage the location and process (the ‘way’ that you do it). Managing the ‘way’ that work is done, especially for highly skilled knowledge-workers, restricts their ability to tailor their work output to their own personal circumstances and preferences. Everyone is different. Why expect them to all work in the same place, in the same way? Its like giving them a car, but fixing the seat height, the steering column, the mirrors, giving them a one-speed gearbox and a speed restrictor…..the car would soon be returned to the leasing company! Why do we do it with workplaces?

The PLACEMAKER, in those circumstances, also has two hands firmly tied. Their skill-set includes finding the best work locations, flexible providers, great service experience, and supporting the individual in whatever way they chose to work. But, the PLACEMAKER may only be allowed to use the one element of that toolkit – the large, standardized, pre-set, corporate office, in the centre of the city. Or worse, not even in an interesting city! The corporate office could be in a nondescript business park, where the only respite from monotony is the entrepreneurial woman from the nearby town who brings a van-load of assorted sandwiches at mid-morning. Or a smoke in the purpose-built smoking shelter, with your other buddies, also ostracized like citizens of the Athenian democracy (albeit not for ten years, just for ten minutes). Yes, I have been one of their number….

In one of our OJ network discussions this week, Marcus Bowen (our man in Hong Kong) raised a very interesting point. It is an unrestricted gulp of fresh air to be PLACEMAKER to the ScrumMasters in the software development industries. They do not suffer from these restrictions. The much sought-after (and expensive) ScrumMaster will fly into a hub like Hong Kong, or Singapore, all pre-arranged and planned by a multi-skilled PLACEMAKER. The ScrumMaster and her team will have done a lot of preparation work remotely, in one of many different personally-suited work settings. But then, at some point, they need ‘face time’. They need that frenetic activity – a short, intensive work period – to get over that creative hurdle. Maybe three or four days – they will be too tired to do more.

Before they get to the Scrum, the group of software developers will have been using remote team-working tools; sharing a work-space in real time, but not real proximity. They may ‘sit’ next to each other, online – but in reality could be a mile or a thousand miles apart. It makes no difference. The PLACEMAKER will be there, wherever, to provide (maybe through a third party) the place, and the space, and the service experience which supports productive work.

I hear some readers saying, ‘here we go again – this is all about knowledge workers!’ The laptop and tablet-carrying free agents of the contemporary workplace. Highly paid and highly skilled people, whose needs have to be pandered to. But, it is no longer true, is it? We would have said, medical doctors need to be in hospitals. But paramedics with helmet-mounted cameras now routinely get advice from a doctor who could be anywhere.  We would have said, teachers need to be in schools and colleges – they may be, but their students can be anywhere with a webcam. Or vice-versa. The man (it is usually a man) digging up the road will be there, until someone invents a machine that can do his job all day without leaning on his shovel for ten minutes every hour. The person fitting caps on toothpaste tubes will equally be physically located on a bench, day in day out, until similarly someone invents a machine with equivalent dexterity. But, these jobs, in fixed locations, are reducing in numbers every time there is a new innovation – and they are not being replaced.

Much has been talked about the future of the office (no….open your eyes….stay awake now) – its quite simple, it will be a bit of what we have today, and part working at home, plus many other locations and spaces which suit the individual at a specific time. Workplace becomes workplaces. Corporate real estate teams will be providing an agile service to the workforce, not a fixed ‘product’, in a fixed place. Facilities management will become more about managing the work experience, of place, space and customer services – but as those places are spread around, to suit the individual more than the corporation, this new higher-level facilities management will be provided by the PLACEMAKER. The developer, the entrepreneur with an interesting ‘place’ where people just really want to work. The bus stops here – all change please, all change….

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In November, I wrote about Place-as-a-Service (PaaS), based on the now common term SaaS (Software as a Service): http://occupiersjournal.com/place-as-a-service-paas-time-to-join-the-connected-world/

The article was supply-side focused. I was considering the changes, already being seen in a small way, in how workplace accommodation is provided. Regus is the most well-known, globally; but there are many new entrants – in fact, who really knows how many?

Looked at from the user perspective, is this simply the consumerization of workplace accommodation? In a similar way that cloud-based IT and personal devices have been picked up by users? Not provided by the corporation (usually, the employer), but paid for by the consumer?

Where is this going? How far will it go? Of course, we do not know.

Will flexible accommodation, on flexible terms, reach a plateau? That seems unlikely.

Will agile working become universally accepted as simply the most efficient and effective way of working? That seems likely.

When people can truly work almost anywhere, at their choice, will they choose to commute to the corporate workplace? That remains to be seen. There are many ‘push/pull’ factors at play here – the need to belong to the wider ‘group’, recognition, immersion in corporate culture, versus time and cost to the individual.

How will corporations (employers) react? Or, indeed, plan for this eventuality? IT had its BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and that spread rapidly. Will our sector have its own BYOD? Buy-Your-Own-Desk? And charge its use back to the company? A Regus account will do that already; how many others will follow?

So many questions!….what are yours?

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Cheesy title, but serious point….

Many occupier teams will have been working on their 2014 Plan. Your major projects next year, your key service improvements, partnerships – or for a very few, even new hires (that has not happened much since 2008 – but occupier in-house teams are now very ‘lean’; maybe too lean?)

Whatever your 2014 Plan contains, why not share it with your peers? – you may be surprised to find out that others are planning near-enough the same as you for next year. How are they doing it? What are they going to do? How will they measure success?

Or you could maybe ‘dip your toe’ in anonymity? Let your peers know, but with no names – do it. Let us collate responses, and do some matchmaking for you!

If you find like-minded occupiers, with comparable plans for 2014, you could meet (or hold a web meeting) in the New Year. Or we could host that for you.

There are over 700 occupier ‘Heads’ and managers in our closed group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Occupiers-Journal-Global-Network-occupiers-2275314/about . Plus, as few selected Regional Partners and useful friends of ours around the world.

Or just email me, tell me what you are planning for 2014, and I’ll ask others (in confidence) if they are doing something similar and wish to ‘swap notes’ in the New Year.

Above all, “clap your Plans!” – communicate what you are planning, and get some recognition for your efforts. In this sector we are all too slow to congratulate ourselves on the good work done to achieve better working environments for people.

Paul

paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

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To the heart of the suburban dinosaur

by Paul Carder on October 8, 2013

This article in GlobeSt.com caught my eye: “C & W brings Merck Headquarters to Market“. It might well have read “brings HQ to life”, as if it was a dying old mammal! The article’s author, Antoinette Martin, describes the leviathan one-million square-feet HQ as:

“another of the big-footed “suburban dinosaurs” emerging on to the commercial office market in New Jersey”.

I once spent a week in one of these weird space-stations that never took off to ‘boldly go…’ Far from being excited by being in a foreign country, and experiencing the culture, I was neither! Much like a free-range chicken going on vacation to a battery-hen farm, I was bored rigid. Much later, the term ‘cube-farm’ was coined by somebody, and such places have been mocked by Dilbert. The concept of mixed-use development was entirely missing – staying in a nearby hotel, there was nothing to do, and nowhere to go. It was not a ‘human’ place.

People just don’t want these places – corporations might like the efficiency, but ‘people’ don’t. And corporations are full of people! But, there is good news for the next generation……

Antoinette Martin notes that developers and planners have learned to become creative about re-use of such unique spaces, however, quotes Andrew Merin, a vice-chairman of C&W.

“Every major corporate campus in New Jersey [USA] over the past three decades has either been re-purposed to meet the needs of a growing corporation’s new headquarters or positioned for innovative reuse”

The NAIOP in New Jersey [USA] discussed this issue: Panel of Experts Offers Solutions for Re-Imagining Suburban Offices

The title of NAIOP New Jersey’s March chapter meeting was “Dinosaurs or Diamonds? Re-Imagining New Jersey’s Suburban Office Spaces”. The link above talks of the “preference by a new generation to work in amenity-driven urban settings”. The discussion followed from a report (one of a series of Rutgers Regional Reports) by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, titled ‘Reinventing the New Jersey Economy,’ issued at the end of 2012.

In a presentation prior to the panel discussion, Dr James Hughes, co-author of the report, said “By 2007, a new era dawned, with iPads, tablets and iPhones unshackling workers, who were no longer geography- or cubicle-tied”. Clearly, commercial real estate provision has a lengthy ‘lag’ behind demand. But people don’t want to work in these million sq.ft. suburban dinosaurs any longer. The offspring of the baby boomers, “are tech-savvy and like urban settings,” Hughes said. “The suburban corridors won’t necessarily be gone, but times have changed.”

From suburban dinosaur to new “town centre” – a more human urban setting

The developer of an even larger site, the two million-square-foot, 472-acre former Bell Labs complex in Holmdel, N.J., which successor Alcatel Lucent vacated in 2007, discussed their plans. Somerset Development “will be making improvements to recreate it as a town centre”. The Bell Labs complex will include a mix of residences, including affordable housing, both inside and outside of the main building. The building’s signature 70-foot tall atrium will re-emerge as a pedestrian promenade. The heart of the project will be its retail component, anchored by a 65,000-square-foot supermarket. Other components will include a 400,000-square-foot medical facility encompassing a health and wellness center, surgery centre, and an assisted living centre. Finally, a hotel and conference centre, and educational facilities, will round out the rebirth of the historic Bell Labs complex.

The PR article gives several more examples of “re-positioning” these large ex-corporate Headquarters facilities.

The dinosaur becomes agile, and avoids extinction

Yes, this is a well-disguised story about agile working! And social changes that go around, and in between. Ten years ago, most people did not have fast and reliable technology to enable them to work wherever they liked. Now that most knowledge workers do have this technology, they have started to change their whole day! They can work from home, so they don’t see the point (or like the cost, and environmental impact) of commuting too far. If the employer wants to see them in the office, at least a few times a week, they had better make it easy to get to.

Even better…offer someone a job….and availability of a flat/condo just a 5-minute walk away….oh, and a couple of restaurants, a gym, a nursery. Its also near the rail-hub to get into the city on Friday night, or for the weekend.

Your HR Chief will, at some point, realize that this set-up is an attractive part of the employment proposition – it may attract, and even retain, many employees. They may even trade-off a slightly lower salary. Shareholders will like that!…and, the heart of the old suburban dinosaur will be beating again. The same old corporate profit motive, but just quite a lot more pleasant to live around, maybe….

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One month ago I published this blog post: http://occupiersjournal.com/project-socs-service-operations-case-studies-collaborative-research/

I was super-enthusiastic! A good evening debate at the RICS, where education and development of Facilities Management (FM) was the focus, and had triggered a sudden rush of activity. The blog describes how it all started, and who was involved.

I am still enthusiastic about the concept of developing Harvard-style case studies for our industry – we have to be! The industry needs case studies, desperately….we have very little substantive material to demonstrate how FM contributes to business performance. You can read about the progress of Project SOCS (Service Operations: Case Studies) here: http://lnkd.in/F2HBcy

However, the project is starting to get into the usual ‘inertia treacle’ between the parties in an industry that sadly seems to know the cost of everything, and the value of nothing (a point made in our Raising The Bar report for RICS in November 2012). For so long now, FM companies have grown by going to customers with a “we can save you 10%” proposition….but 15 years ago, that worked. Now, customers have got used to asking FM to cut costs – they expect it.

Go on, just one more cut…it won’t kill the industry (will it?)

Yes, it will. Eventually. You cannot build a market sector that has no marketing other than cost-savings.

What is the FM industry? Perhaps it is currently a Project, not an industry sector. Perhaps it has been a 25-30 year project to rationalize property-related service provision in organisations, and make them lean and efficient. OK, it may have achieved that. So what next?

Does the industry want to sell value-based services to customers at a price that allows them to invest in good people, and grow profitability? It seems not. Or, in fact, it seems the industry just does not know how to do that.

Cinderella had better PR than Facilities Management does!

She must have done. Someone told the ‘customer’ what size her feet were….the rest is history (OK, myth). If that was Facilities Management, the customer would have been told, “Why not forget the glass slipper…we can supply you with these boots, at lower cost”. Not the point.

FM needs to start building a rich picture of all the many ways that FM contributes to business performance. It needs to build these ‘stories’ into solid case studies, that can be used by Business Schools to teach future executives about the business value of FM.

We are ready to source and write 20 case studies, into a 100 page book, by year end….help us to do that?

Someone always needs to stick their head above the parapet, and allow people to take ‘pot shots’. I have; and they will. But, we have a very strong team now confirmed:

Project Management: me + David Emanuel (MD, i-FM.net), Dr. Rob Harris (Ramidus Consulting) and my business partner, Dr Jim Ware (a former Harvard Business School professor and case study expert). More at this link: http://lnkd.in/sDyY-F

UK Steering Group (formally confirmed so far):

  • Kath Fontana             Managing Director, BAM FM
  • Liz Kentish                  BIFM, Deputy Chair
  • Peter McLennan       Course Director, MSc FEM, University College London (UCL)
  • Deborah Rowland    Head of FM Policy & Strategy, Government Property Unit (Cabinet Office)
  • Stephen Shallcroft   Director, Corporate Real Estate, ARCADIS NV (inc. EC Harris LLP)
  • Gareth Tancred         BIFM, Chief Executive

And a clear target ‘check list’ for case studies: http://lnkd.in/9KJx9p

What do we need from you? as soon as possible…..

What we really need now is funding. We can really help to change the FM industry, and start to move towards value-based business services, and away from simple cost-savings.

Service providers need to invest in this project, in our opinion. When we are successful in shifting the focus towards value, not cost-savings, then service providers will become more profitable. We all need the many service providers in our industry to be profitable, over the long-term, to make it possible to invest in people and performance.

Please invest today, and have your brand associated with this leading project; please contact David Emanuel: david@i-fm.net

And please join, and follow the progress of the SOCS project, on our LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-SOCS-Service-Operations-CASE-5093552/about

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Former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, is widely reported to have said “a week is a long time in politics”. A minute must have seemed a long time for Sabine Lisicki yesterday afternoon in the ladies tennis final at Wimbledon – we felt her pain! For Occupiers Journal, so much has happened in 5 days! It has been a good week for collaboration…

CASE STUDIES – collaboration

Dr. Frank Duffy raised a point at an evening event (more below); we need Harvard-style case studies in our industry. I have heard Frank say this before, and I knew where he was coming from – the Harvard Business Review (HBR) publishes 4-page summaries. These are multi-disciplinary, but written from the viewpoint of one discipline, such as Operations Management or Service Management. The Harvard case-teaching method is more detailed, and used as the basis of business school teaching worldwide. It is a proven method of teaching managers.

Frankly (no pun intended), I just thought the time for talk is over – we must act now. The corporate real estate (property), workplace and facilities management (FM) discipline needs this multi-disciplinary case study approach. And my business partner, Dr. Jim Ware, is an experienced ex-Harvard professor! So, there has never been a better time to push this forward.

SERVICE OPERATIONS: deliberately crossing Operations with Service Management

There is a recognized opportunity for Operations Management to engage in the SERVICE arena and apply this long-established body of knowledge and skills to answer fundamental questions in the areas of service quality, productivity and efficiency, and to apply their expertise in business services and the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors.

Service Operations is a deliberate mash-up! It crosses over between the established fields of Operations Management (generally applied to production efficiency – but equally applicable perhaps to the operating of buildings and engineering systems) and the newer field of Service Management, where perhaps much of facilities management resides.

Project: SOCS (Service Operations CASE STUDIES) is launched!

It is official – it has a LinkedIn Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Project-SOCS-Service-Operations-CASE-5093552/about

SOCS (Service Operations CASE STUDIES) is specifically focused on a vital part of Service Operations in any organisation – the buildings (real estate), workplace provision, and facilities management (FM) services. Our aim: to deliver case studies to demonstrate contribution to organisational performance.

When, where and how did this start?

On Monday evening, 1st July 2013, at the RICS in London, the third Facilities Management (FM) evening event was held, organised by John Anderson. I was on the panel discussion, which was expertly chaired by Christopher Hedley, and with the following great people (in no particular order): Liz Kentish (Deputy Chair of BIFM), Kath Fontana, Managing Director of BAM FM (and representing the RICS FM Professional Group), Dr. John Hinks (Global Head of Innovation, CRE&FM, Group Operations at Zurich), and Peter McLennan (Course Director, MSc in F&EM at UCL).

In the audience were many other representatives of FM industry bodies and leading commentators: Johnny Dunford (Global Commercial Director, RICS), Chris Hoar (Chief Executive, FM Association), Dave Wilson, the UK representative for IFMA Foundation, Geoff Prudence (Chair, CIBSE FM Group), Richard Byatt (Communications, Magenta; former Corporate & Public Affairs Director at BIFM), David Emanuel (Managing Director, i-FM.net), and Martin Read (Managing Editor, FM World).

The invited guests covered many of the leading FM clients (occupiers) and service providers from the UK and international market, and many leading consultants, from sole principle to global firms. It is fair to say that the gathering of 80 or so people was a representative cross-section of the UK FM industry.

SOCS: Terms of Reference

The next stage is to bring this project together. We have made a start, and many of the people listed above have already agreed to play a role in this project. In particular, RICS, BIFM and the FM Association are all ‘agreed in principle’. And all the panel (above) have also agreed to represent these bodies, and others, on a Steering Group, chaired by Dr. John Hinks as an independent client (end user).

The majority of our Regional Partners have also responded already, to say that they are very much behind SOCS and will communicate it within their global regions. This will connect us with ABRAFAC, SAFMA, MEFMA, FMA Australia and many others over time!

Further details

contact: Project Co-Director: Paul Carder: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com or +44(0)7970 406477

or Project Co-Director: Dr Rob Harris, Ramidus Consulting (Occupiers Journal – Regional Partner, UK & Ireland)

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by Paul Carder @WorkAndPlace

Yes, I know, I am a little biased. We all try not to have our favourites. We all try to be impartial. But, over the years, CoreNet Summits around the world have become the place where I know that I will meet most of the people I want to meet. Many of those people are now good friends, and some even business partners in Occupiers Journal….

In fact, there were three of us at CoreNet London this year. Our Spanish, Portuguese & LatAm partner, Francisco Vazquez Medem, President of 3g-office, flew in from Madrid. And our Swiss partner, Niklaus (Nick) Arn, Managing Director of RBSgroup, flew in from Zurich. We don’t get chance to meet often, so this is another good excuse.

I did pen a few blogs last week, around the London Summit activity, as you can follow here if you wish:

Monday: Communities & Parties: if you want to read more about CoreNet Communities, see this link

Tuesday night: customer service – the small things that make a big difference; a late night rant!

Wednesday: a word in support of CoreNet and RICS working together; a great step for the industry.

Sunday eve: 100 tweeters @ CoreNet London: with link to a register of twitter names for you!

So, what more can I say? Well, as usual, quite a bit if you let me……

The paperless Summit

Remember the ‘paperless office’ – I don’t really, as I think I was still at school. Anyway, it didn’t happen, as we all know!

But, the ‘paperless summit’ arrived (almost) last week, with the Summit App. Registration only had a pocket-sized brochure/agenda for the 2.5 days. Everything else was on the App. Great! Well, great for those with iPads, iPhones and other advanced gadgets. But London isn’t #CNGSanDiego…! Some of us old Brits still have BlackBerry and other gadgets that don’t like Apps quite as much. So, it didn’t quite work straight away, but most people got there in the end.

Session evaluation forms were on the App….no more of those paper forms sitting on every chair. So were all the session details, and “peer connections” so one could ping a colleague on the App and arrange to meet. I never did get the thing to work on my old BlackBerry, which I’m waiting to exchange for an iPhone! I had to laugh at the irony of the last General Session 2: how technology is changing work, which culminated in a real-time survey of participants using the App. The vastly experienced Michael Creamer, of Cushman&Wakefield, had to think on his feet, and see the funny side as we answered different questions from those he had on his screen!

Thought Leader Series

The Thought Leader Series was a first for CoreNet London. It was described as follows:

Topics of direct relevance to you based on Corporate Real Estate 2020 research findings highlighting some of your biggest challenges: Become a better communicator/collaborator. Improve your ability to influence. Think strategically. Manage change. Get direct access to top-level experts in highly interactive breakout sessions designed with CRE in mind. Work alongside professional peers to develop soft skills needed to lead and succeed in your highly specialized field

The idea, from CRE2020 (see more below), is that we tend to focus on the technical/professional challenges and knowledge needed for CRE, FM, & Workplace. But, of course, as managers, we need a range of leadership and ‘soft’ skills. This programme starts to address this.

Summit Connect

This is an excellent feature for people who cannot attend in person, but want to watch some of the highlights online. The General Sessions were screened live, and a few other bits over the two days. It is now online at the link

Follow the twitter discussion at #CNGLondon

DAY 1

There is a list of all the twitter names that appeared in this stream on my Dropbox here. Some highlights from some regular tweeters are below.

General Session 1: Leadership 2.0: The Science Behind Great Leaders ; Studies show that emotional intelligence is two times more important in contributing to excellence than intellect and expertise alone. Bill Benjamin talked about increasing your Emotional Quotient (EQ) to lead CRE through a time of unprecedented change.

@markcatchlove – Leadership skills depend heavily on emotional intelligence – why not analyse your own good and bad bosses and see #CNGLondon

@CoreNetMktg – Increased IQ doesn’t translate into better performance. Increased EQ does. #CNGLondon

@paulcarder – #IHHP – “If you have a 150 I.Q., sell 30 points to someone else” Warren Buffet – you don’t need to be a genius!! #CNGLondon @CNGSummits

@CNGSummits – “We FEEL before we THINK” – #CNGLondon. Good for avoiding attacking tigers, not so good for handing interpersonal conflicts!

@iainfranklin – We know CRE is about relationships, now we know why- emotional intelligence 2x as important as IQ and tech skills combined #CNGLondon

@markcatchlove – When you want to react emotionally – 1.Stop 2.Oxygenate 3.Strengthen appreciation 4. Seek information #CNGLondon

@preOccupiedblog – #CRE leaders using service providers to solve technical gaps, and training in-house team to solve soft skills #preoccupiedblog #CNGLondon

‘Soft skills’, leadership and general management continued throughout…..

@preOccupiedblog – 70% say relationship building is important for #CRE leaders. #CNGLondon #preoccupiedblog

@preOccupiedblog – #CRE leaders using service providers to solve technical gaps, and training in-house team to solve soft skills #preoccupiedblog #CNGLondon

@Philip_Tidd – @preOccupiedBlog #CNGLondon indeed; the C-suite give intangibles short shrift. Challenge is to make them tangible – robust data is key.

@preOccupiedblog – We don’t have many technical property spclsts in-house. We teach tech skills to non-tech people –Giradeau/HSBC #preoccupiedblog #CNGLondon

Benchmarking

Alex Andel, a senior director with CBRE, presented on this subject, and tweeted as @preOccupiedblog, “Join #preoccupiedblog in the #CNGLondon learning quarters at 230 for the (hopefully) least boring talk on #benchmarking ever Nerds rejoice!” Not at all Alex, it was very well received, as I found from discussions at coffee afterwards.

@SteveHenigan – CBRE global benchmarking – global average of 192 sqft per employee #CNGLondon;  global median of 8000 dollars per workstation;

Exclusive Property Trends Analysis (a top line-up!)

@DTZGlobal – At #CNGLondon? Drop in to the ‘Exclusive Property Trends Analysis’ break out session at 16:00 today – DTZ’s James Maddock will be moderating…. James Maddock was indeed moderating, and a great job he did of keeping us presenters on track. And with some humour too, which always helps!

The brochure described the session as follows:

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and CoreNet Global present new findings from exclusive reports. Take part in an interactive presentation of the Corporate Real Estate 2020 research report to learn how sustainability initiatives and partnering with other key support functions will impact corporate real estate strategies. Also, be one of the first to get access to RICS’ new report which takes a hard look at the current state of the practice of facilities management by drawing on a survey completed by almost 400 FM professionals on six continents.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:
o Describe how the FM function is measured and managed.
o Develop a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges faced by facility managers.
o Describe new models for organizational collaboration and integration.
o Discuss how the nature of business and work will change by the year 2020

We did achieve those ‘takeaways’, but the discussion was more around the strategic fit of facilities management (FM) alongside other functions of real estate, HR, IT, ‘Brand’, and perhaps procurement.

In this session, Barry Varcoe (Zurich) and Eckhard von Münchow (NokiaSiemensNetworks) presented parts of the CRE2020 research, which was a difficult challenge in 25mins (between the two of them!). The research is now published and available at the link above, from the CNG website. Barry and Eckhard gave a useful summary, particularly of the structural relationships between the functions mentioned above.

Ian Dunning, Global Facilities Director at Unilever PLC, and myself, presented some of the findings from Occupiers Journal current research with RICS, due for publication on 1st November, available via RICS Research.

Can I summarize the session? That would be difficult. However, both CRE2020 and our study with RICS, have been drawn into the question of how CRE & FM is structured. In fact, more to the point, how the whole support structure of an organisation is structured.

The intelligent client

The presentations and debate above were fed by earlier discussions, like Barry’s article on ‘the unintelligent client’ and my blog in response a few weeks ago.

This is an area to watch, as in my opinion it will ultimately drive the structure (and capabilities) of the service provider market. What happens when RE, FM and IT (for example) actually do form one unit, work out their strengths and weaknesses, and then go to market for one service provider?

No answers here….yet….just, we all need to think about this. Professional service management firms will adapt. Will we see huge IT outsource companies buying (or partnering with) CRE/FM service companies?

Again, Alex Andel summarized: “@PreOccupiedblog: Ability 2 understand problems in an integrated way results in solutions developed in an integrated way. Varcoe/Zurich #CNGLondon”

DAY 2

After the parties, going on well into the morning (I was at CBRE‘s party – thanks again guys) I’m sure that the morning was a little subdued for many. I had a meeting at the RICS, so I missed most of the morning.

Some others were up and bright: @JeremyCDay: “Day 2 of Corenet Global Summit here in London, after excellent reception at the British Film Museum last night. #cnglondon”

Having witnessed his dancing skills at 1am, @BenMunn was fresh enough to tweet: #cbre’s Patrick Marsh on the global integrator model at #cnglondon 11am in the Plaza Suites – a challenging and rewarding evolution #cre

Not to be outdone, @JLLNews tweeted: Mike Evans of @JLLNews presenting on “Ghost Towns: What’s the Solution” at 11am in Plaza Suites

HSBC Case Study

But just to prove they are all actually friends (at least, off the ‘pitch’ – pun intended), CBRE and JLL worked together with HSBC on their slot “CRE Transformation – the HSBC Case Study”. @JLLNews tweeting: #JLL’s @ShelleyFrost73 presenting on “CRE Transformation-the HSBC Model” …Set to be an engaging session!

@preOccupiedblog (Alex Andel) tweeted: HSBC #CRE transformation aligned to guiding principles of corporate strategy: capital, cost, growth…. HSBC #cre transformation Vision: 1) redesign org, 2) rationalize supply chain, 3) implement global standards…. HSBC says global integration brings innovation, risk mgmt, consistency and lots more….. “Whatever we do, we have to have great MI and data”-Giraudeau/HSBC …….”Significant benefit! New MI platform helps us have strategic discussions with the business.” Giraudeau/HSBC …..”New data platform helps us do things in a couple weeks that used to take several months.” …..

@JoeyVlasto added “Excellent breakout session on CRE Transformation with HSBC at #CNGLondon Great case study of partnership and working together.”

When Does Workplace Go Global?

I was actually at this session, rather than the HSBC case study – difficult choice – I wish all the sessions were filmed!

CoreNet described the session as follows:

With the world becoming smaller, how can you advance your workplace to reflect brand and local culture? The CoreNet Global UK Workplace Committee will facilitate lively roundtable discussions on this challenging question and how different approaches such as global standards, process delivery and mapping facilities, workplace, real estate to business aspiration, can assist in creating a competitive advantage.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:
• Identify the subtleties and nuances of what works and what does not across the global workplace
• Evaluate and challenge your own approach to workplace through discussion and examples of best practices
• Apply latest thinking to your organisation through quality engagement with workplace professionals

Melanie Woolcott, Workplace Director at Orbit Architects did the hosting and chairing of the session. Melanie has a lot of experience in this role, also being the Council Member (Events) for the Workplace Consulting Organisation (WCO).

This was a very useful session, with experienced practitioners Robert McLean of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Billy Davidson of Vodafone.

Billy has a great Glaswegian turn of phrase, and what you really need to remember from this session was tweeted by @nicholaspwinterVodafone CRE going global – common DNA but not “dolly the sheep” !

Both PwC and Vodafone have developed methodologies and tools to analyse workplace needs, and certain features are generally included in global programmes. But, not “Dolly the sheep” – the genetic facsimile of her relative. It was recognized by both speakers that there is a need to promote the ‘brand’ whilst reflecting local culture and business practices.

General Session 2: Techno Shifts – How Technology is Changing Work (by @GinaSchreck)

This was the rousing (and interesting) last session before drinks and departures…. Gina was at #CNGSanDiego also, earlier this year, and ran several technology sessions throughout the London summit to help people get the best from their iPad, social media, and much more. She is a self confessed “Technology Freak”, loves shoes and caffiene….she had certainly had a few ‘extra shots’ before her last session!!

You can watch her session on Summit Connect at this link ….but shift to 2m:40s as for some reason there is nothing at the start! In fact the sound is not great, and it doesn’t reflect the session particularly well. But it will give you an idea of the session.

@occupiers (me, this time) tweeted a few of Gina’s fascinating facts – “If you were born in the 60’s, you have probably consumed 50,000 hours of TV…!!” …….”people are now consuming that 50,000 hours on different media, and creating it; sharing”….. “be interesting…be helpful…or BE QUIET!” Remember the point of #socialmedia don’t junk it up!”

@richardbyatt retweeted – “Social media advice at #CNGLondon “Be interesting, be helpful or be quiet” Well that rules out 50% of SM postings”…. probably way more than 50% Richard! But hey, this blog is also ‘social media’, as is Linkedin, and many other useful forms that we all use regularly.

I’ll leave you with one of Gina’s observations – “you can just be a Twacher“!! What does that mean? Simply a Twitter watcher….you don’t need to “tweet”, but you can gain by following a group of leading thinkers. Maybe they have more time to get to events that you don’t, or read articles that you haven’t seen – they will leave links, and comments on their twitter feed. You can just follow them…..simple. But, effective.

Thanks again to all the people at CoreNet Global, and the many volunteers (and their organisations) that give their time and expertise to make CoreNet Summits the success that they are. We’ll see you in Orlando!

Paul Carder @occupiers , @paulcarder , @WorkAndPlace

Work & Place issue#1 now at this link

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100 tweeters @CoreNetGlobal #CNGLondon last week

by Paul Carder on September 23, 2012

There is sometimes a criticism of lack of twitter feeds coming from events – not only from CoreNet, but other large gatherings too.

I thought that I would have a look through this evening, and see if this is in fact true. The answer seems to be that it could be improved, BUT frankly I was surprised that I found 100 individual tweeters for #CNGLondon, CoreNet and London last week.

Here is a link to my list, and recognition I hope for those who do keep the twitter feeds live: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/42833890/2012_CNGLondon_Tweeters.pdf

So, very soon it will be the CoreNet Global Orlando Summit where we should see more ‘tweeting’. Our own Dr. Jim Ware will be there, tweeting as @thefutureofwork and @jpwoccupiers

regards, Paul Carder

@occupiers ; @WorkAndPlace ; @paulcarder

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My old friend, and one time line manager, Dr Barry Varcoe, posted an interesting challenge on his blog. It was one of those blogs which, after reading a couple of times, you just have to respond. Or at least, I do.

The article was titled “The (Un)Intelligent Client” – not in any way disrespecting the ‘intelligence’ of his Corporate Real Estate (CRE) & Facilities Management (FM) peers, but posing a question. That was, essentially, how much knowledge of CRE/FM does the ‘client-side’ team actually need? And the related question, where should the line be drawn between client and supplier responsibility? Barry mentioned that suppliers want to get into, “the ‘smart’ high value work such as portfolio strategy and performance management”, and suppliers also wish to, “deploy their information systems so that they control all of the data of the extended operational chain and can provide ‘seamless’ and comprehensive reporting”. This is all a matter of policy and strategy – does it matter?

I would argue that some parts matter far more than others – and I have seen why, after it has gone wrong. These are the elements that do need an intelligent client, as they are essential.

  1. Management information
  2. Performance Management (including ‘benchmarking’ and performance improvement)
  3. Key internal customer relationship management
  4. Contract management (including financial control, and quality audit compliance)

Management information: the client can push this out to suppliers, to some extent, but only in terms of creating management information. I would always insist that the MI system, that holds and displays the information, at least at the ‘top level’ where the client uses it (and customers, where applicable), should be in-house. When a supplier is changed, the MI system then simply starts being populated by a new supplier. The alternative? – the supplier holds all the MI, and gives the client team access. When the supplier changes, will the client get all this historic trend data? Personally, I doubt it.

Performance Management (including ‘benchmarking’ and performance improvement): the client simply cannot outsource this. There is no client-supplier relationship, no matter how close to being a ‘beautiful partnership’, where it is sensible to ask the supplier to manage it’s own performance. If the intelligent client team is reduced to its absolute minimum, someone is always needed in that team to be the ‘performance manager’. The role is there to research leading practice across the market, to analyse MI and trends, and to challenge the supplier to constantly improve. Looking at Barry’s blog, and the question posed, could this role be performed by a “strategic sourcing” function? I know, from personal experience, that the answer is absolutely, no, it cannot. The performance manager needs deep industry/professional sector knowledge with which to challenge and perhaps ‘coach’ the supplier.

Key internal customer relationship management: this is a role which could potentially go either way, but I would advocate keeping at least the ‘top end’ of this function in-house. For example, the relationship between CRE/FM and the ‘Head of XYZ’ business unit – in a large organisation, potentially responsible for thousands of staff – needs someone ‘in-house’ to be the focal point. At least, to meet every 3-6 months, and to set out plans for a rolling year ahead. The test, as in any relationship, is what happens when things go wrong or get difficult. This is where the in-house role is really needed; of course, if everything is going well, the role is less important. But, if it is not, then to whom does the ‘Head of Business Unit’ complain? And chase for action? The other issue is sensitivity and confidentiality, especially with future planning of business units. In my experience, most internal customers feel more comfortable talking to a fellow member of staff. Probably someone that they have known for some time, and built up a trust and rapport. This could potentially be a supplier senior manager, but “strategic sourcing” will usually screw that up every few years by insisting on ‘market testing’ and losing a perfectly good Account Director.

Contract management (including financial control, and quality audit compliance): this is very simple – of course, a supplier cannot manage its own contract! However, the in-house client role can be limited to change controls, financial and quality audits, etc. The remainder is essentially part of the ‘performance management’ and MI roles above.

So, in summary, and to answer Barry’s question, “Which of the two routes therefore leads to the best sustained performance from the enterprise’s perspective?”, I can say that a small “Intelligent Client” (of “Informed Client” as we used to call it) team is always needed. After all, like in any area of management, you can delegate duties but you cannot delegate responsibility. The employer of any supplier needs to be able to hold the MI it needs, to manage and challenge performance, and to take care of key internal customer relationships. That is not a “sourcing” role – it is the role of the Corporate Real Estate & Facilities Management professional. In my view…..

If you disagree, tell me why – I would genuinely very much welcome all views: paul.carder@occupiersjournal.com

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