Last week’s annual CoreNet Global’s EMEA Summit welcomed more than 500 senior Corporate Real Estate professionals and service providers from 23 countries to Amsterdam for two days of senior level learning and networking.
The attendance figure for Amsterdam echoes last year’s record attendance at an EMEA Summit when the event took place in London, and marks a record attendance for an event held in Continental Europe.
In opening remarks on the first day of the Summit, Global CEO Angela Cain expressed her delight at the event’s attendance, and said that CoreNet Global was proud to be holding the Summit in the Benelux region.
Noting that CoreNet Global was working hard at a global and local level to serve members requirements, Jim Scannell, Chairman of CoreNet Global’s Board of Directors, observed that worldwide CoreNet Global has seen impressive membership growth, approaching 8,000 members. Angela Cain added that the EMEA region has also seen membership growth, now standing at almost 900 members which is a 16 per cent increase across the region.
Monique Arkesteijn, chair of CoreNet Global's Benelux Chapter, also warmly welcomed delegates to a city celebrating 400 years of canals and the reopening of the world famous Rijksmuseum.
The annual event opened in spectacular fashion with iPad ‘magic’ from D1gits, while General Session speaker Dr. Jonas Ridderstråle addressed ways in which executives can continue to strive for economic success. The Swedish motivational speaker discussed how organizations must evolve and innovate in order to stay ahead of the curve: “If you cannot predict the future, you need to create it.” Dr Ridderstråle also noted that if your company is perceived to be unique, then you will succeed, and many of the most successful companies succeed by selling an emotional experience rather than a unique product.
The opening session was followed by an expert panel discussion on innovation in CRE, moderated by Michael Creamer of Cushman & Wakefield with participants including Ed Berkel, Shell; Matthias Grimm, SAP; and Simon Wells from Zurich Financial Services. The panel discussion noted that the CRE industry needs to see a step change, where there is more of a focus on the people in our buildings and not the buildings themselves. The priority is how buildings can serve to enhance productivity. The panel also debated the merits of globally applied workplace standards versus adaptable bespoke local standards; discussed how greater productivity might be measured and how such data might be collated, and whether remote working should be encouraged or discouraged in the context of increased collaboration.
Delegates also had the chance to attend a diverse range of more than 20 additional seminars and presentations on the first day, with topics ranging from market outlooks for Central Europe, France and the Middle East to a focus on how gaming and Consumerisation principles affect the workplace, and a look at strategic best practice FM.
The second day provided delegates with a chance to attend site tours of TomTom and Royal Philips; a networking lunch comprising a series of round table discussions; and more than fifteen individual seminars and presentations.
Professor Alf Rehn, Chair of Management and Organization at Åbo Akademi University in Finland, provided the general session presentation on the second day. Professor Rehn challenged delegates to consider that organizations have always been designed to maintain the status quo and actively kill new ideas because organizations are often based on deep seated ideas and firmly established identities. “Leadership is not the skill of consensus or agreement”, noted Rehn.
Michael Creamer of Cushman and Wakefield also introduced the results of the “Workplace Transformation Barometer Survey”, which had been running during the course of the event, with delegates invited to participate through the special Summit smartphone and tablet app. Creamer noted that the Survey is being undertaken globally at the CoreNet Global Summits, including at Shanghai earlier this year.
Initial survey findings from EMEA Summit attendees indicated that the top 3 drivers for workplace change are to attract and retain employees, increase employee productivity and reduce real estate costs. It was noted that high importance is now placed on employees, including attracting high quality talent as well as how the workplace results in increased productivity. However, as expected, reduction in real estate costs also remains a popular driver for change. Other findings indicated that over 50 percent of respondents who had not previously done so were planning to implement workplace change programmes in the next 12 months.
Finally, during the Summit, Thomas Glatte, President of CoreNet’s Central European chapter, announced that next year’s EMEA Summit will be taking place in Berlin. He echoed Angela Cain’s sentiment on this year’s event being a success by saying: “Our friends in Benelux can be extremely proud of the attendance in Amsterdam.”
CBRE, Herman Miller and Johnson Controls were Diamond sponsors of the Amsterdam Summit, with Emerald sponsors including Colliers International, DTZ and Jones Lang LaSalle. Ruby sponsors included Cushman & Wakefield and Planon.
Next year’s CoreNet Global EMEA Summit will takes place in Berlin between Monday 15th – Wednesday 17th September, 2014.