When faced with a challenge, we pivot. When progress is blocked, we plow.
We find ourselves cloaked in uncertainty sparked by a pandemic, and it is too early to know when the global family will graduate into this post-”now” world. But what we do know is that the disruption to society, commerce, and life as we knew it, will drive (or hasten) some lasting changes. The scope and reach of these changes is too early to know entirely. We are naturally looking forward to a world that is healthy and safe; and one that uses this challenge to reflect on what solutions and innovations are necessary to better coordinate the next fight, and in some cases, avoid it altogether.
We also know that the demands of difficult times drive creativity, innovation and invention. Prime examples of this (out of too many to list from across the world) are how quickly Chicago-based Abbott labs developed a testing apparatus that can yield COVID-19 results in 5 minutes or how manufacturers of seemingly unrelated products like Tesla, Ford, GM, GE, and 3M have committed to building ventilators by thousands. And it is not just large corporations and governments stepping up. There is no shortage of stories of individual acts of kindness, courage, and creativity worldwide.
When faced with a challenge, we pivot. When progress is blocked, we plow. And It seems entire ecosystems are going to have to pivot around and plow through uncertainty and disruption for quite some time. Likely influencing everything, everywhere: the way we eat, work, live, learn, travel, and communicate.
So, what does this mean for our outlook? A lot. And frankly, there is too much to frame all at once (and certainly in one post!). Yet, with so many moving parts all over the globe, it is important to be agile, yet with a continued focus on process and discipline.
That said, we do have a few initial and accelerated drivers of change that we suspect will play a direct role in shaping our strategies. We are already unpacking the following, and how they will influence global demand and supply of space and the capital markets:
- How will the vulnerabilities exposed worldwide impact the individual, corporate, and regulatory approach and commitment to sustainability?
- How will changes in our collective demand for services (and how they are delivered) drive capital investment, industry consolidation, and global innovation?
- In retrospect, what is the lesson learned about supply chain concentrations and long distance & last-mile distribution networks?
- Will there be a shift in investment and regulations to prioritize programs like affordable housing; enhanced medical programming; long-term incentives to spark economic development; and stronger federal commitment to infrastructure?
This is just a fraction of the questions we have as we navigate the road ahead – and as we journey down this road, we will try to share our thoughts with you as they take shape. We are not in this alone, and as a team, community, and world, we can leverage everyone’s collective experience and unique perspective to drive and shape the creativity, innovation, and invention needed to pivot and plow.
We hope this brief essay finds you, and everyone in your orbit, healthy and surrounded by support.
And as always, thank you.