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?
I advise senior members of JLL’s UK business on the risks and opportunities of digital disruption. This includes horizon scanning the best PropTech solutions in the market, as well as establishing the governance associated with digital transformation and innovation within the UK business. Also, I provide thought leadership and strategic advice to key clients, participate in industry networking events and public speaking.
DESCRIBE HOW YOU BECAME INTERESTED IN PROPTECH AND INNOVATION.
My background is sustainability in real estate. I became frustrated at the pace of change in the industry and seemingly high barriers to entry to scale good ideas and solutions (usually technical) to solve critical problems in our industry. From this starting point I began to learn more and more about the possibilities of digital technologies and how they could be used to solve all sorts of problems in the real estate sector, and open up new possibilities. I am still learning, every day.
IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS, WHAT AREA OF THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY DO YOU THINK WILL CHANGE THE MOST DRAMATICALLY?
I would say most of the professional services will be subject to significant change, as they all become far more data driven. But if I had to choose I would say valuation and transactions will be hit first.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN INITIATIVE IN YOUR ORGANIZATION TODAY?
Sounds boring and simple, but it is the creation of property and client information databases linked with APIs. Why was this not done 20 years ago?
WHAT ROLE HAVE MENTORS PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS? HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE OTHERS TO DEVELOP STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH MENTORS?
I would say yes very much, but not in the sense of actual mentors. Most of my mentors I’ve never met. I watch TED talks or read books and listen and learn from others. The real estate industry is pretty behind the curve so there aren’t that many “innovative leaders’ in our industry. I tend to look outside our industry for inspiration. However, that makes it difficult to make personal connections. This is actually one thing I am trying to solve for myself and others: I will be facilitating small private sessions for like-minded people to meet and learn from out-of-sector leaders
WHAT IS ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T ALREADY KNOW?
Despite my role and the intellectual stimulation I get from doing it, I would much rather be living a simple life away from technology.
INNOVATION CONVERSATIONS GALLERY