Think Outside the Industry

  • Insights
by Jeff Pollak, Managing Principal

Real estate has long been a traditional and conservative industry, with a tendency to rely on tried-and-true methods for problem-solving. However, with the fast-paced changes and disruptions happening in today’s world, the industry needs to adapt to new ways of thinking and approaches to problem-solving. With consumer tastes and habits changing at a faster clip than ever, the real estate industry must be more responsive and more nimble to keep up. One need look no further for a source of inspiration than the fashion industry, which has been witness to ultra-fresh thinking and innovation in recent years, punctuated recently by Louis Vuitton’s hiring of Pharrell Williams as the brand’s Men’s Creative Director.


Pharrell Williams is a musician and producer, not a fashion designer, but he was brought on by Louis Vuitton to bring a new perspective to the brand. Williams’s street credibility and fearless sense of vision will add a fresh perspective to the brand’s fashion lines and help to attract a new and younger audience. This approach to ‘outsider’ problem-solving is something that the real estate industry could learn from. 


Real estate problems are complex and multifaceted, and still the industry tends to rely on architects, brokers and other experts to solve them. While these experts certainly have valuable insights and expertise, they may also be limited by their own perspectives, biases and business lines. Non-industry outsiders who bring fresh perspectives and creative solutions could be a valuable asset to the industry.


Streetsense was formed as an ‘uncommon collective’ of big thinkers, designers, artists, cultural experts, and so much more. These professionals have a different perspective on problem-solving and bring fresh and innovative ideas to the table. We collaborate with tech companies and startups, local community organizations and culturally focused community leaders. These organizations and individuals are often at the forefront of innovation and can bring new ideas and technologies to the real estate industry. 


The real estate industry could benefit from taking a page out of the fashion industry’s playbook by looking outside of its traditional pool of experts for problem-solving. By bringing in outsiders with fresh perspectives and creative solutions, the industry could find new and innovative ways to address its challenges and adapt to the rapidly changing consumer-driven world.


The Place Consulting team works to identify, analyze, and solve real estate and place-based challenges from the perspectives of key stakeholders in the real estate ecosystem, including investors, property owners, tenants, and consumers. We take pride in our award-winning diagnostic methodology, one that begins with uncompromising research: identifying unmet potential and diagnosing the hurdles in the way to meeting it. Our diagnostic ensures we have defined and fully understood the challenges, while also educating our clients and setting us up for highly executable solutions and recommendations that support return on investment— however it is measured.


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