The Innovation Conversation is a series of Q&A sessions between the real estate technology industry's top leaders and MetaProp Co-Founder and Managing Director Aaron Block. Topics include thoughts on the future of property and technology, corporate innovation activities and executive development in the real estate technology space.
WHAT ARE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY RESPONSIBILITIES IN YOUR ORGANIZATION?
As CEO of Green Generation Solutions (GreenGen), my responsibilities include setting strategic direction and then securing people and resources to achieve our goals. GreenGen is a global energy solutions provider that engineers and implements energy efficiency solutions to lower buildings’ operating costs while improving sustainability. As a fast-growing company, I like to think my job is to set the boat into the wind and then let the team sail.
DESCRIBE HOW YOU BECAME INTERESTED IN PROPTECH AND INNOVATION.
As a real estate professional for more than 25 years, PropTech and innovation have always been critical, even before the word “PropTech” existed. We always focused on expenses; but as technology became more powerful, we realized that most companies didn’t have strategic focus on how to use technology to lower energy related operating costs. This lack of strategic focus is what spurred me to start GreenGen, a firm that has PropTech and innovation at its core. We focus on identifying technologies and then implementing them into a solution that will drive a financial outcome that builds value for investors while improving sustainability. At GreenGen, technology is at the heart of how we innovate and bring value to our partners.
IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS, WHAT AREA OF THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY DO YOU THINK WILL CHANGE THE MOST DRAMATICALLY?
In the next ten years, the opportunities to use data will change the most. The real estate industry is still quite archaic in its approach to the collection and analysis of data. Data has the ability to inform decisions from operations to leasing to overall strategy and is a massively overlooked area of opportunity.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN INITIATIVE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION TODAY?
The most important innovation in our organization today is the interrelationship of data, energy generation and efficiency to optimize occupant outcomes and experience while using a lower amount of decarbonized power. This means that technology must enable a systems/solutions approach that integrates technology to achieve specific outcomes. The ability for facilities to better correlate physical occupancy to energy consumption is a perfect example of the systems approach we develop.
WHAT ROLE HAVE MENTORS PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS? HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHERS TO DEVELOP STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH MENTORS?
Mentors are critical because they can impart their experiences to accelerate an entrepreneur’s path to growth. I often say that the first time is a lesson and the second time a mistake. Mentors have the benefit of lessons that can let entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes. I have had mentors at every point of my career and that would include today.
WHAT IS ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T ALREADY KNOW?
Most people don’t know that after high school I played soccer for Bristol Rovers in the English League Second Division before returning to the US to attend college. This experience included relegation to the English League Third Division. An unbelievable and humbling experience.
INNOVATION CONVERSATIONS GALLERY