Using Agile Development Principles to Prepare for the City of the Future


To make real estate future ready, real estate professionals need to adopt an agile development mindset toward delivering CRE strategies. The result will be better user experiences and returns on their investment.


In the technology world, agile development is a methodology used to develop projects with an emphasis placed on empowering people to collaborate and use a continuum of planning, testing and integration. In most cases, the projects evolve and the result is continuous improvement.


Adapting to Change

In order to respond to the needs of the changing built environment, real estate needs should be delivered with the same premise – change is continuous and strategies need to be continually responsive. For developers of workspace, design should be guided by the quality of the user experience. Soon, commercial real estate environments will be judged in comparison to something as frictionless as downloading and using an app. The world of ubiquitous workspace-as-a-service is close at hand. In the future, companies will still define private spaces to drive their business and support their culture, but as technology and real estate continue to intersect, users will continue to push CRE to support them in a fluid landscape of tools and connection points.


Navigating Technology 

Technology disruption is showing real estate how it needs to be more flexible to stay relevant. Real estate is showing that technology needs a longer view and ROI in order to survive. In both worlds, tactics and trends will change but success should be measured by the value of the outcomes and the engagement of the users.


Both will be successful if they are invested in wise uses of resources and the priority for our wellbeing.


Five Key Themes 

Deloitte recently published a report, “Innovations in Commercial Real Estate, Preparing for the City of the Future.” The report discusses five key technology and consumer behavior themes CRE professionals should be incorporating with their business strategies going forward. These themes include future trends in mobility, the focus on occupant health, utilizing the Internet of Things, 3D printing and data analytics.


How does real estate use an agile development mindset? Let’s look at the themes in the Deloitte report:

Future of Mobility


Shared access, autonomous and ‘pay-per-use’ vehicles will ultimately cut down on parking requirements and change logistics geographies.


Agile application: Landlords can offer pre-paid (Uber cards) transit credits as leasing incentives and survey existing tenants to create new uses for portions of their parking lots.


Occupant Health and Wellness


As health consciousness grows, so does the demand for healthy environments. Well-being in the workplace translates to productivity, recruiting advantages and energy efficiencies.


Agile application: Properties can stay agile to health and wellness needs by expanding access to natural light, maintaining their shell as a sustainable environment and measuring the ongoing physical and mental comfort of the occupants.


Internet of Things


Machines everywhere are talking to each other, collecting data and working ‘smarter’ on our behalf. The realities of better measurements and efficiencies are present for owners that put into place an IT backbone fed layer of IoT devices into their buildings and businesses.


Agile application: Owners can take the ongoing IoT device feedback and make it transparent to the tenants. Both parties will have an up to the minute view and voice to improving ROI and property experience.


3D Printing


Additive manufacturing is providing many industries more customization and faster delivery.


Agile application: Landlords can be agile to the needs of companies with on-demand production and smaller inventories by providing time share storage and infrastructure for on-site manufacturing options.


Demographic Data and Predictive Analytics


Primarily because of technology, we gather more data and have more insight to people’s preferences than ever before. As a result, smarter algorithms and greater customization is possible to present timely solutions.


Agile application: Continue to measure and gather information but keep instinct in equal balance for decision making. Human nature and a historical respect for choice will keep our intelligence from going completely artificial.


The Result?

Regardless of what aspect of real estate is affected by technology, incorporating integrated solutions for new ways for people to live and work will result in more collaboration and quicker decisions for users and owners alike.


This will become increasingly important as the fight to attract and retain talented workers continues to gain momentum throughout the United States.


Dan Peterson

Vice President

Colliers International | Minneapolis - St. Paul

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September 6, 2019

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