Open-access content 4th November 2008
23 October 2008
by Gareth Price
Wowerit said: "Few cities have seen the speedy transformation process that Berlin has. A once divided city and a symbol of the cold war has now become a tolerant metropolis."
The work environment was the theme of the corporate real estate association three-day summit and in the keynote address, author and innovation expert Rowan Gibson called on business to end its preoccupation with efficiency and look instead to achieving value.
Gibson (above) explained that the world's more successful organisations are, by and large, the ones that have shaped their entire business models to meet demand: "We are as efficient as we can be. To gain an advantage, radical change is the only tool we have left."
Gibson spoke about the four "lenses of innovation" - challenging orthodoxy, harnessing trends, leveraging resources and understanding needs. He added that organising workplaces to reflect these four elements can assist in producing successful ideas.
"Innovation can be achieved systematically. In recent years, we have trained people for quality, now let's train them for innovation."
As part of the education programme, Robyn Kaiser, American Express global business strategy director, discussed BlueWork - the brand of high-performance workplace being implemented by the company across its portfolio, some 12 million square feet of real estate. The Bluework programme integrates information technology, human resources and innovations in corporate office environments to accommodate what it calls "growth without growth".
Susan Mitchell-Ketzes, senior VP of HOK (the design firm acting as delivery partners for Bluework) said that the programme was a business strategy, not a space strategy and the culture change had been successful insofar as American Express business unit leaders had shifted from making demands for space and now looked to find business project solutions.
Case studies from Europe, the US, Australia and Asia were presented including Telecom House in Brighton, seen as a showcase for the Bluewatch implementation.
The summit's education programme also included the presentation of research by Woods Bagot on sustainable design across global regions. The principal case study featured City Centre Tower 1 in Adelaide, a 21-storey office building has been recognized with awards in Australia and the UK for its sustainability and performance credentials.
The summit also saw the launch of Corenet's central Europe chapter, incorporating Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Other central and eastern European states were set to join the structure. The president of the new chapter Thomas Glatte (head of corporate real estate management at BASF) said that the recent Corenet events held in Germany had seen good responses from corporate real estate sector in central Europe: "We see a growing need for best-practice sharing in the region. The field will increasingly professionalise in the coming years, and the need for additional management skills is growing. This is where we want to step in."