By Hande Oney - 17th May, 2019
PLASTARC is proud to have been a part of the Catalyst CRE Conference for the last two years. In 2018, Melissa Marsh of PLASTARC presented on the use of data in future workplace and development decisions. The two-day event brings together experts in real estate and technology to discuss how the fabric of tomorrow’s cities will be shaped by the strategies owners employ today. Unlike many other conferences that focus on common real estate challenges such as building tech stacks, leveraging data, and improving tenant experiences, Catalyst aimed to bring together innovative and unexpected perspectives from practitioners both inside and outside of the industry.
Keynote speaker Scott Hartley began with a reference to Plato: "Data knowledge is wisdom". His talk emphasized the continuing increase of user needs. In today’s world we cannot judge a person by their answers but by the questions that they ask—this is the governing idea behind his hiring process. Hartley then addressed the types of tasks in a work environment. Both manual and cognitive labor can be either routine or non-routine; according to a study conducted by McKinsey, 30% of tasks in 60% of current-day jobs will disappear due to automation. He closed his presentation by stressing the importance of education not as a destination but as “a plane ticket.”
The next panel was led by Lisa Picard, CEO of EQ Office. It centered on the communities that people are build within organizations; potential talent is interested in joining communities rather than companies. This has become the main driver of talent coming to an organization and has motivated an increased role for HR in acquisitions. She used social media terms like "influencer" to name employees who make a workplace special. Picard also talked about some of the factors that make the Bay area a center of talent. In the past companies have been treated like machines and employees were seen as workers on an assembly line, with executives supervising production. Today, tech companies are leading a push toward more organic entities.
The afternoon keynote speaker, Barbara White Bryson, Ed.D, FAIA, shared a motivating real life example of the survival story of Chilean coal miners. At a time of crisis, emphasizing essential skills, motives, and characteristics in team. "Being a creative leader while staying focused is key". At the afternoon fireside chat, former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson stressed the importance of attracting tech and innovation companies to build better cities. One of the greatest remarks was the closing note by the Honest Buildings CEO & Co-founder Riggs Kubiak, “Ideas are commodities”.
Although Catalyst is a young event, it has already earned a place on our calendar for years to come. We look forward to hearing more from industry players share their experiences and challenges with experts to contribute to the change by bringing innovation into users and providers of commercial real estate.