News - Creating Innovation in Real Estate
Robert Vanderwerf, Director of Innovations at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), led a small group discussion with MIT/CRE students in March on how to encourage innovations in real estate, focusing specifically on his own firm. In a real estate universe of investors, owners, and tenants, JLL's mission is to provide "strategic client services" to each of these components, he explained. To achieve this objective, the firm has made a strategic decision to use innovation as its primary means to higher margins and a competitive advantage, and to establishing itself as the industry leader.
To promote innovation within the organization, JLL explicitly provides funds to promote and sustain innovative thought. Ideas are encouraged and evaluated. Past innovations are assessed and become the basis for informing future directions, including the need to be realistic about the time it takes to effect change. Mr. Vanderwerf noted that "effectiveness is more important than speed." Jones Lang LaSalle has been an innovator in the areas of telecommunications, financial asset optimization, procurement, and performance management. The success of these innovations is underscored by industry awards and by JLL's ability to attract premium clients and premium assignments.
Mr. Vanderwerf was clear that while innovations could be an element of entrepreneurship, the two were different. Innovation is not e-commerce, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, research and development, strategic sourcing or a think tank. Innovation develops from teaching, focusing on strategy and long-term value, collaboration, and approaching problems and issues as a team. Innovation at Jones Lang LaSalle is "focused entrepreneurship."