Message from Brian: Urban Land Institute Spring Meeting
This year is shaping up to be a year of involvement and re-engagement within the profession for me. The effects of the recession seem to be wearing off and the promise of a stabilized, and dare I say growing, economy in the Bay Area have reinvigorated my desire for professional growth and to become more involved in professional organizations. Since the beginning of the year I have joined two groups that I have had interest in for some time now, SPUR and ULI. A few weeks ago I attended the ULI Spring Meeting in San Diego.
This being my first ULI event I really didn’t know what to expect. In reviewing the session outlines I was convinced that I would be exposed to current trends in housing and office sectors, which I was, but I was surprised to find inspiration regarding public outreach techniques and office culture. Here are just a few of the topics and ideas that caught my attention:
- Innovation in nature is usually defined as mutation and is usually fatal. Innovation in society may have failure as a potential consequence but it is not lethal.
- Strongest element supporting innovation in the workplace is culture.
- Mistakes refine you but don’t define you.
- Office environments can support innovation by increasing the opportunities for interactions, engagement and water cooler talk.
The New Workplace
Comparison between Facebook and Salesforce.com campus strategies
- Strategies vary widely depending on the campus location (suburban vs. urban) and the level of existing amenities in close proximity. Salesforce.com being located in downtown San Francisco does not provide the same level of onsite amenities as Facebook since restaurants, dry cleaning, gyms, and other businesses are located in close proximity. While Facebook, being isolated on the Bay edge in Menlo Park provides extensive amenities on campus.
- Newer companies have the ability to rethink what the office environment and culture should be because they don’t have decades of organizational baggage.
- Yahoo recently made a very public decision to discontinue telecommuting to reinvigorate their office culture.
New Models for Community Engagement in Real Estate
- Technology is now providing new tools to engage the community.
- MindMixer is trying to develop a better way to connect to the people who care most about the community. Project specific sites allow residents to post ideas and pictures as well as respond and cast votes.
- Popularize.com allows residents to vote and post ideas for specific projects and sites. It can ask the question what would you want built on this site, or what stores would you like included in this shopping mall. This information can then directly inform decisions made by the developer.
- Fundrise.com is taking the idea of crowd funding to real estate by congregating small investors.
Brian Fletcher, President