So it ends where it began – on a train. As the chatter transfers from the conference hall to the railway carriage I reflect on what has been a positive CoreNet experience. The strap-line to the Summit contained three simple but significant words: Connectivity, Creativity, Relationships. Of the three creativity was perhaps less in evidence. Although case study material and subject matter presented during the conference was solid and robust but it struck me that many of the themes and approaches outlined over the last two days have been around for quite some time. No-one has a silver bullet that shakes the CRE industry and lifts it to a new level – or at least if they did, they weren’t sharing it.
It begs a fundamental question for the corporate real estate community. In the more challenging and demanding environment of today (and tomorrow) just how creative can CRE teams actually be? Can out of the box thinking originating from within the CRE function, be transformed into new, one might even say radical, action? Does the nature of real estate – in terms of assets and processes – truly enable creativity? Time will tell. What is clear is that the industry – if the connections and new relationships I have made are truly representative of it – has a real desire to push further. There is an appetite to do things differently, to seize the moment, to reshape and reposition the CRE function and its contribution to the wider enterprise. There are reasons to be optimistic and encouraged for sure, but the creativity deficit will need to be addressed by end users and service providers alike if changing context translates into a step-change in the evolution of our industry.