Real Estate R&D – We need to step up the game

I was thinking about Headquarters on Monday when the concept of an internal Real Estate R&D department hit my brain like a bolt of lightning.  Everyone is familiar with the concept of product development.  Everyone has heard of scientific research.  Who has ever heard of real estate R&D?  Maybe a new concept!

Google “real estate research & development” and you get MIT as your first link.  Pretty cool.  I’d heard them mentioned a few times but never really dug into what they’re doing.  Not time like the present!  Oh wait, their headline article is from 2011.  After that there isn’t really any new, public, cutting-edge thinking that I could (quickly) find.

Question: why aren’t furniture companies sponsoring coffee shops?  What better environment to test mobile workspace concepts!  There are so many ways that we could think about real estate differently and TEST the concepts.  My engineering synapses are firing like crazy right now.  It’s quite spectacular…..

  • Furniture vendor/coffee shops
  • LGA Terminal D has the desks with iPads to order food, why isn’t there a mobile office concept with this?
  • Speaking of airports, Delta Skyclub has offices – why aren’t they partnered with an architect to understand how travelers use that space?
  • Ford/Chevy/etc.  – The car is an office now!  Where’s someone trying to improve productivity while keeping the driver focused?
  • Hey Best Buy – I hear you may be having trouble with your stores.  Maybe have some extra space.  Why not turn it into worker productivity zones?  Deck it out in new technology to bring in users.  Maybe they would also buy some gear.
  • Mall food courts have huge amounts of open space.  Surely someone could figure out some creative ways to test new concepts.

Just on the surface there is so much that we could do to put CRE more on the map.  And look – most of it isn’t even technology focused, it’s the stuff we do well already!


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