What do you need to change as a leader to innovate within your organization?

  General news, HPP Connect & Innovate (C&I)
by Sabine Schoorl

Freelance PropTech & Innovatie Consultant

The meetups of HPP Connect & Innovate are the perfect way to connect with each other and talk about innovation. Innovation is an interesting topic because everybody wants it, but not everybody is doing it yet. Or don’t know how to do it successfully. At HPP-C&I we think that successful leaders develop a vision about future innovative business models in real estate and move their companies towards the role they want and need to play to succeed within the new business environment.

We invited 2 experts for this session who both have designed innovative business models and helped move their companies, but also the market, into new directions:

  • Tom Willcock, partner and innovation expert at Hollis. He talked about innovation culture and leadership and the theory of innovation.
  • Martijn Roordink, a successful entrepreneur, who you probably know as the founder of Spaces. He talked about the practical aspects of innovation.

In this session, we’ve learned more about innovation culture, mindset and skills and also about what you need to change as a leader to innovate within your organization. And of course about the practical and entrepreneurial side of innovation.

Interesting quotes from Tom:

  • Innovation is not just about creating new products (see the 10 types of innovation listed in the chart below)
  • Set targets and audacious goals
  • Start with the problem, not with the technology
  • Beat the competition by being agile
  • Extent by capitalizing new markets
  • Measure what you’re doing
  • Some solutions are looking for a problem
  • Generalists are great at coming with ideas, but you need people for executing and detail
  • Give kudos to people who innovate, make it visible
  • You need time and space to think and be curious
  • Be prepared to fail, innovation comes with a lot of failures, encourage change and call failing learning
  • Fail and learn fast, disappoint early
  • Keep the innovation team small and together, give them autonomy and direction



Interesting quotes and questions to ask yourself from Martijn Roordink:

  • Go for more than 100%
  • Rethink and challenge a market and proposition
  • How can a real estate market be not so customer-centric?
  • Is real estate a financial product or an innovative proposition to add value to a user?
  • How can we create a user-centric experience with real estate?
  • Am I able to create more cash per m2 than my competitors?
  • When everybody says don’t do it, there can still be reasons to do it
  • Disruption often happens faster in an end-user playing field
  • Innovation is about user experience when you deliver better quality than everybody else
  • Make dashboards for all your employees, so they have more insights into customer satisfaction
  • Learning by doing, details and execution, teamwork
  • As a leader, step out of the operations of the company to reflect
  • Reinvent real estate into a data-driven learning connection between operators and users
  • An office is the most stupid building in the world, during a 24/7 time period there is only 12% effective occupancy: can we improve the way we use all this space?

“It is extremely important to stay agile, stay focused on the relation with the end-user. Focus on multi-use of spaces, working, playing, sleeping, etc. Stay agile as a company but also towards the community that you serve. The relationship is way more important than the transaction.”

We split up into two groups and asked the participants to pick one or more of the following questions and discuss the answers:

  • How do we take the stupid out of real estate? In what way do we need to become smarter?
  • What should we change today to come to improved innovative business model?
  • Where do you think disruption will come from?
  • Are you ready to fail fast and learn faster, what will stop you from doing it?

One group focused on the question ‘Where do you think disruption will come from?’. The group sees it coming out of several directions:

Crisis brings disruption. This corona crisis for example had a huge impact on the way we work (hybrid working), it changed the rules and made us innovate. But also society as a whole changes its beliefs along the way, we set higher goals and values in real estate about circularity, sustainability, social impact, instead of just being money-driven.

“Disruption also comes from digitization. Being able to measure performance and use data to predict defaults or improve decision making, is opening up the market for new players.”

For example: it is getting easier to come up with optimized designs via automated parametric design solutions, having an impact on the role of architects.

Also, it will come from a new set of investors: suppliers that will change from a sales-driven organization into service-driven companies that keep ownership of their products. Why construct a building, why not assemble it? Building as a Service will have an impact on how we invest in, operate and finance real estate.

Furthermore, disruption comes from tech as a whole, new possibilities like AR, drones, sensors, etc. Disruption comes from outside your industry: solutions that have worked in other markets or for other products, that are slightly changed and put to use within real estate.

The next meeting of HPP-C&I will be in September. Interested in joining? The meetups of HPP Connect & Innovate are the perfect way to connect with each other and talk about innovation. 

Learn more about HPP Connect & Innovate