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Report questions why property firms are slow to adapt to new technology

A reluctance by property firms to hire individuals to focus on innovation is leaving the sector behind when it comes to adopting new technologies, research claims.

A report by Swedish proptech academic Olli Vigren aims to explain why the property sector has fallen behind other industries in adopting new technology.

The study was conducted in collaboration with property recruitment firm Cherry Pick People and proptech procurement platform Unissu.


It focuses on the need to overcome management intransigence, to prioritise cultural change and to invest in digital transformation.

Based on a survey of people focusing on innovation at brands such as British Land, JLL, Cushman & Wakefield and Buro Happold, the findings underline how much further the sector has to go on digital transformation.

Barely half of survey respondents were hired to manage innovation while the other half are employed in another capacity.

The majority (57%) spend less than half of their time on innovation, while most innovation teams (71%) are tiny, comprising five or fewer people.

There also seems to be little consistency about what an innovation role should be. 

Between them, the 176 respondents had 139 different job titles, which may include chief technology officer or head of digital sales.

The report, titled Digital Transformation - Survive and Thrive, makes five recommendations for businesses in the sector and individuals who have responsibility for innovation.

These include having a full-time focus on innovation and giving individuals and teams clear job titles.

Alex Wiffen, managing director at Cherry Pick People, said: “We firmly believe that people leading innovation strategies are going to play an increasingly important role in the real estate industry. 

“By providing insight, our study will help them to manage their careers and encourage more people to take this journey.”

Download the report: https://unissu-7566011.hs-sites.com/digital-transformation-in-real-estate-0

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Proptech & fintech plays are a confusion for anyone - even CTO's find it hard to understand what others are doing outside of their vertical. It would be useful if there was a definitive 'map' of how to de-risk your business, adopt agile practices and adopt the best tech for you.

    Unfortunately there is in the UK I think less than a dozen people who see the micro and macro, the trends and understand the tech. That is why I work pretty much every day, advising, and helping guide those enlightened enough to even try to save their analogue businesses.

    Mindsets rather than capital are the real problems, far too many stale pale men sitting in high positions not utilising the vision and ability of 30 something digital natives who both can code the future, and as a consumer themselves can tell the c-suite how 7 billion people like to do business on the cusp of Web.3.

    In 1890 Charring Cross was full of horses - 'driving' people around, by 1910 automobiles had replaced them, not a horse to be seen.

    Businesses in the realestate space unfortunately do not have 20 years to get their act together, as the new technologies exploding into view are moving so fast that agile businesses built on tech just 10 years ago are obsolete, let alone legacy driven businesses who think buying a new computer will solve all.

    The way people work, do business etc and live is all in the melting pot, but what is crystal clear is that everyone powers their life through their smartphone powered by software.

    Tapping and swiping to consume goods and services in a shared economy, think warp speed rather than an envelope being sent out by a solicitor second class to a client, these are the two extremes.

    Those who embrace a modernist approach will win big, those who do not may well regret keeping their head in the sand.


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