The Leader Magazine

SEP 2017

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F E A T U R E A R T I C L E 44 SEPTEMBER 2017 ThE lEadER Corporate real estate strategies in a disruptive era: coworking, consumerization, cross-pollination – and everything in between by Claire Rowell and Jonah Bleckner I n an era marked by consumer-centric business models and dramatic advances in technology, there is greater demand and opportunity than ever for real estate to positively affect occupant and organizational performance. In the past handful of years, major economic, cultural, and technological changes have spurred and spotlighted exciting corporate real estate (CRE) phenomena, including coworking and its constantly shifting typologies, the democratization of offi ce design, increased employee participation in workplace decision-making, and greater corporate willingness to experiment with real estate uses. WeWork, Mozilla, Verizon Wireless, and Unity are all examples of organizations leveraging their physical environments as a platform for innovation and brand leadership by incorporating forward-thinking, user- centric approaches to workplace design and real estate strategy. Driving these disruptive approaches are creative CRE leaders who are embracing our changing economy and transforming the notion of real estate from a bottom-line cost to a high-value catalyst for exceptional employee and business performance. Journey back in time with us – just a few years – for a closer look at how these CRE approaches have taken root in our disruptive era and how they've set the stage for the future of workplace. 2014: The rise and rise of coworking With co-presenter Miguel McKelvey, WeWork's co-founder and chief creative offi cer, the PLASTARC team spoke at the 2014 CoreNet Global Summit in Washington, D.C., about the rise of coworking as a disruptive innovation – a change that improves a product or service in a way its market did not expect. During our presentation, we covered the cultural forces behind coworking's rapid growth, including occupants' newfound comfort with the sharing economy of performance over ownership, their increasing awareness of new tech products and amenities, and their growing expectation that social media and tech-enabled communication would be available to them everywhere. (Although the fi rst iPhone was launched only 10 years ago, who among us can now imagine living and working without a smartphone?) We referred to the combined result of these forces as "the consumerization of the workplace," the notion that high-performance, customizable, on-demand, technology-integrated experiences would grow seamlessly from being consumer must-haves into

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