Colin Dyer: Six Davos Conclusions

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Colin-Dyer-JLL-96In our daily blogs, Sheila, Christian, Anuj, Kasai-san, Greg and I have discussed what we’ve seen and heard, and how we spent our time, in Davos last week. In this final blog, I wanted to talk about why we come to Davos in the first place. Why invest the time and resources to be here? Here are six thoughts about why it’s so valuable for JLL to attend.

First, the conference gives us access to leaders from all areas of private and public life: As Greg pointed out in one of his posts, there were a lot of very smart and influential people here:

“So far I have been in small seminars with Joe Biden, David Cameron, Justin Trudeau, Benjamin Netanyahu, John Kerry and CEOs from Bank of America, Blackstone, WPP and Standard Chartered Bank, just to name a few. The discussions are fascinating, especially as everyone here watches the world stock markets slide, and the price of oil drop. Surprisingly, there is no panic. In fact, it seems the consensus is that this is all unwarranted and will be short lived.”

Second, we are exposed to an incredible range of information and opinion: Christian observed:

“As every year, when Davos is getting to a close, my head is full of new impressions and information. This year it will take many quiet hours to really get some order into my thinking, about all the implications I can see coming from the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As business leaders, we carry the responsibility to foresee, to translate and turn it into very practical action. The changes are indeed massive, but from what I can see today, there are many more positive than negative implications.”

Third, we gain insight into major trends and priorities confronting the world today: In fact, Sheila had an active role in contributing to those discussions:

“I co-chaired a meeting of trustees on the World Economic Forum’s gender parity initiative this morning, where the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the World Bank promoted economic empowerment for women in emerging economies as an engine for growth. For the developed world, there was energetic debate not about how women break through the “glass ceiling” but how they move from the “sticky floor,” with much discussion on the role unconscious bias plays – for all of us – in our behaviors and decisions. I am proud of all that we have accomplished at JLL but reminded that we have much more to do to in leveraging all our talent.”

Fourth, we get to hear leaders and top thinkers interpret the future as they see it: In one of my posts, I described the gulf between media reports of impending economic doom and the quiet confidence of 60 global business leaders as they look ahead to a healthy 2016. And I know Anuj was pleased to report that:

“Professor Nouriel Roubini of New York University actually stated that if there was any place in the world where he would prefer to gestate a start-up, India comes a close second after Silicon Valley. I tend to share his optimism, considering how much real estate they are currently consuming!”

Fifth, and probably most important for JLL, we meet senior leaders of clients and potential clients in an informal setting: Despite the amount and variety of non-stop activity in Davos, all of us from JLL spent most of our time in meetings with senior executives from client and potential client organizations. In the normal course of business, it can be difficult or at times impossible to get time with, say, the CEO of a large multinational client. Such leaders are far more approachable in Davos. As Kasai-san said about an evening event he and I attended:

“On the evening of day two, the ‘Japan Night’ event drew many Japanese corporate executives from a wide range of industries. This event was hosted to promote Japan’s business and culture, and also offered networking opportunities for senior leaders and government officials. Although Prime Minister Abe was unable to attend Davos this year, the ceremony kicked off with a message from him. I had the pleasure of attending the event with Colin Dyer and met with many Japanese corporate executives, while enjoying some sushi and sake.”

Sixth, we build and share our JLL brand and reputation: Throughout the week, in meetings, and at receptions, dinners and other events, the six of us had many opportunities to reinforce our brand and introduce JLL to a wide range of senior leaders in business and other fields. We also promoted JLL early in the week by hosting a ‘sold-out’ morning breakfast session titled ‘Delivering New World Cities’, where renowned panelists discussed many aspects of city innovation and urbanization. The panel included our own Rosemary Feenan, head of global research, Professor Colin Lizieri from the University of Cambridge, and Professor Carlo Ratti of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Thanks to Sheila, Christian, Anuj, Kaisai-san and Greg for all their efforts during a busy, and at times hectic, week. And thanks, too, to Gayle Kantro for coordinating our Davos activities.

Colin Dyer

For a comprehensive view of JLL’s 2016 presence in Davos, visit our ‘JLL and Davos’ microsite.

2 thoughts on “Colin Dyer: Six Davos Conclusions

  1. Adam Wilson

    My Top 5 Quotes from Davos 2016 (“Managing the Fourth Industrial Revolution”)

    It is a truly fascinating time to be in business at the moment and more specifically, the real estate business. As we turn page of this next chapter of development, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, I’d like to share some of my favourite quotes from this year’s conference.

    Quote 1: We have shifted from last year’s “too big to fail” – concern about the financial sector – to “too big to change” – the need for greater agility and innovation in the face of disruptive technologies and business models. Technology change is simple compared with the necessary skills and behavior changes required. (Penrose, S. JLL Chairman, 2016)

    I feel that this is an important reminder that change will be brought about by people, and how we use technology not just technology in of itself.

    Quote 2: Disruption is flowing from agile, innovative competitors who, thanks to access to global digital platforms for research, development, marketing, sales, and distribution, can oust well-established incumbents faster than ever. (Schwab, K. World Economic Forum, Executive Chairman, 2016)

    Uber has ‘Uberised’ the Taxi industry, Amazon has revolutionised retail and Air BnB has turned heads in the hotel industry. No industry is immune from innovation and we would be kidding ourselves if we thought otherwise.

    Quote 3: Technology will make strong, established businesses even stronger. If we embrace the change and use it to enhance the way we operate, we’ll get stronger. The worst thing we can do is deny that technology is driving change and new ways to do business. (Dyer, C. JLL President & CEO, 2016)

    Enough said really.

    Quote 4: Speed is the new currency of business. (Benioff, M. Salesforce CEO, 2016)

    This sits in a long list of inspirational quotes from Marc Benioff. The JLL hotels team is glad to be partnering with and using such a powerful and intuitive platform to manage our business to “operate at the speed of thought.” (another Benioff quote.)

    Quote 5: Digitalisation will lead to massive change and it will come at a much faster pace than we are currently expecting. One key thing which can hold us back is a lack of trust. (Ulbrich, C. JLL EMEA CEO, 2016)

    Great to see such joined up and singular messages coming from JLL leadership team with Sheila discussing how change will be brought about by people making behavioral changes, with Christian discussing how improving trust will be key and Colin setting us on a path to be technology leaders in our industry so many years ago.

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