Innovation is in our DNA: The real estate industry is a pioneer of digitalization

August 12, 2019

To celebrate NOVA3, EXPO REAL’s new hall for innovation, we invited two guest authors and long-time collaborators. Read their statements on how to make real estate fit for the future.

Thomas Schroeter & Steffen Szeidl: two real estate experts on NOVA3, the new hall for innovation at EXPO REAL 2019

“Innovation is in our DNA”

If you want long-term success, you have to create innovative, tailor-made solutions for your customers. It’s important, however, that a company’s vision is not the product of top-down decision-making and managerial imposition. In the long run, a successful strategy needs to not only be implemented in practice, it needs to be lived by the company. In effect, a culture of innovation has to be anchored in the company’s DNA. And this applies equally whether you are following successful, well-trodden paths or blazing exciting new trails.

But what is the right path for your own company? At this point, it’s well worth taking a look outside the box. Because ground-breaking ideas are not developed in isolated offices, they usually emerge when various technologies and disciplines come together and interact. And Messe München’s NOVA3 is an ideal ecosystem for doing just that – bringing new inspirations and competencies together.

I am particularly excited by the large number of start-ups that will be presenting revolutionary and potentially disruptive ideas, reaching beyond the limits of what is considered possible. As a "grown-up" and established company, we have the real estate expertise and tools to bring such ideas to market. As a result, both sides of the innovation equation can benefit from working together – provided they share the same motivations.

Evolution, élan and initiative – these characteristics are firmly anchored not only in the start-up culture, but also in Drees & Sommer’s DNA. A distinctive "can do" spirit has always been at the foundation of our company since it was founded, as reflected in our flat hierarchies, one of the start-up culture’s key characteristics. At Drees & Sommer, everyone has always had a say, from interns to board members. Everyone can contribute their own ideas and put them in motion.

One thing is certain: future business models, products and services need to be measured by more than just their economic success. Above all, they need to be assessed by how they impact our environment. Climate change, rising CO2 emissions and increasing pollution are among the challenges calling for innovative solutions. This is another area in which we are working closely with researchers, start-ups, customers and business partners to make sure our planet is fit for our grandchildren.

Steffen Szeidl

Member of the Executive Board at Drees & Sommer SE

“Leading the way! The real estate industry is a pioneer of digitalization”

The NOVA3 hall embodies the next logical step in the professionalization of digital transformation within the real estate industry. Over the last few years, the PropTech scene has lost none of its vibrancy as it has expanded beyond its start-up phase create genuine, and lasting, added value for the real estate industry. A glance at the latest data shows that the cliché of the real estate industry as a conservative offline culture no longer truly applies.

Back in 1998, only 7 million of over 80 million Germans were online and using the internet. A a few courageous innovators glimpsed the potentials of the world wide web and invested in online platforms. ImmobilienScout24, which was founded as a start-up in 1998, is one such company. As Germany’s largest real estate portal, the company is a prime example of how real estate marketing has pioneered digitalization in Germany and should encourage us all to keep on investing in the future.

The next digital innovations will emerge where demand is greatest. For example, the industry would really like to build more apartments in metropolises if only there were more land available. Brokers could sell more houses if they had access to new homes online at an earlier stage. “Digitalization of property acquisition” is a major topic, which we, of course, will also be addressing.

Another mega topic is Big Data. Any analysis should begin with data and this is especially true when it comes to selecting a location for real estate. With consistent data, potentials become visible, risks can be better assessed, calculations become more reliable. Thanks to Big Data and other digital tools, internal processes and workflows across the real estate industry can only get better.

At NOVA3, we are perfectly positioned as a “grown-up” in the digital real estate industry. We fully expect this thrilling meeting of start-ups and grown-ups to foster innovative synergies, deliver new impulses and, of course, lay the groundwork for exciting new business relationships.

Thomas Schroeter

CEO, ImmobilienScout24