Design Thinking Meets Real Estate

In the industry of real estate development many of the business methods are standardized and outdated. This article suggests a different approach which incorporates innovation/design thinking into the process that could have a large impact on urban development. However, I question the ideas practicability because I think when it comes to development and the large capital investments needed for the projects, convincing people to change their normal proven methods will be hard if not impossible to do.

3 thoughts on “Design Thinking Meets Real Estate

  1. I agree with the article that developers have trended towards constructing buildings cheaply. I never thought about architecture as an unwritten documentation of history. That is an interesting way to look at it. One way to incentivize more experimentation in this area could be tax incentives or some sort of public subsidy.

  2. Carly,

    Great article, way to incorporate our look into entrepreneurship with real estate. I share your concern regarding the practicality of this model in the commercial real estate context. You reference the “large capital investments” needed for projects and it is telling that the “fuzzy front end of design thinking” is the hardest area to garner funding. I think the article does a good job of pointing out the current philosophy in commercial real estate (temporal/ disposability), and attempting to push for a more stable, innovative philosophy. However, in the author’s conclusion, while she notes that design thinkers and real estate developers are diametrically opposed from an economic standpoint, I don’t think she really explains why either of the two groups would want to work with each other. If design thinking is “just the kind of thinking that typical real estate budgets have been designed to squelch,” then what can design thinkers offer real estate developers to change this longstanding viewpoint?

    • I agree with Thomas that in many projects developers try to construct the building as cheaply as possible. Near Notre Dame, the Foundry and the Overlook apartments all use extremely cheap building materials, yet they hold themselves out to be high end and charge extremely high rents. I think it is hard to change the way of thinking in developers, especially when it is working. For buildings that have next to 100% occupancy, there is little incentive to focus on what the consumer wants when the developer can cut corners and still fill the building.