Login Tab

A word from Rom - Shake it up

Disruption. It’s our Prime Minister’s favourite word.

In his first speech as Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull urged Australians to embrace disruption as our ‘friend’.

“The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative. We can’t be defensive, we can’t future-proof ourselves,” he said, adding that we must be “smart enough” to take advantage of the disruptive opportunities at play.

The Prime Minister made these comments as he announced his first Cabinet and made some might think a disruptive move by appointing a Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, Jamie Briggs MP – a move the industry has been calling for over many years.

Our industry traditionally isn’t considered disruptive.

But it is – in more ways than one.

In a bricks-and-mortar industry that is relatively slow to embrace change, technology is shaking up the way we operate, whether we like it or not.

According to the Australian Financial Review, investors worldwide put a record AUD $2.7 billion into real-estate tech start-ups in 2014, and we can expect our own Ubers, Airbnbs and Amazons to land soon.

Think 3D walkthroughs that help homebuyers snap up a bargain from the comfort of their couch, crowdfunding options that support small developers to get their start, software systems that crunch the big numbers to make smarter, more sustainable decision making and online platforms that help tenants spot underused space in their own offices.

But disruption is not just a digital tech phenomenon.

The 40 million citizens who will call Australia home by 2055 will disrupt the traditional notion of the Great Australian Dream.  They’ll all need to live somewhere – and we’ll need to rethink the way we build our communities and our cities.

China alone plans to move 250 million people from farming regions to cities by 2026. There’s plenty for Australia to learn from Asia’s large-scale sustainability agenda, and plenty of opportunities for our industry to scale up to capitalise on the Asian cities boom.

Momentum within the green bonds market is building – with as much as $100 billion expected to be raised by the end of this year. As the appetite for green bonds continues to grow – by as much as 300 per cent year on year – developers without sustainability skills will get left behind.

The race to achieve the first WELL building rating in Australia also signals a new wave of disruption that will wash over the property industry.

And the $2 trillion superannuation sector – which recognises it has a responsibility to invest in long-term sustainable assets – is changing the green game too.

A decade ago, when the daring and determined gathered at the first Green Cities conference, sustainability was a disruptive force in the property industry. And Green Cities was a disruptive event that jettisoned jaded business-as-usual thinking out the window.

Next year, we’re determined to dial up the disruption once more – and have developed a challenging program that presents original thinkers and troublemakers, off-the-wall ideas and outlandish innovations that will knock your socks off.

Mark Shayler, author of Do Disrupt and keynote speaker at Green Cities 2016, says it’s not enough to shake things gently. We all need to be “thinking like start-ups” to “challenge the norms and go against the grain.”

So get your early bird ticket for Green Cities 2016.  And remember, if you don’t disrupt the status quo, then someone else will.