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Creativity And The Uberization of Real Estate

With the advent of new technologies or applications changing things up daily, there’s no shortage of industries that will be disrupted, including Montreal real estate at some point. From artificial intelligence to self driving cars, we may think these things are far off in the future, but they are closer than you can imagine.

I recently read and thought I’d share this article by Laurence Van Elegem, that appeared on Across Technology that places the value of creativity front line and center as a means to thriving in the age of uberization,  The Real estate industry could definitely benefit from some creative applications.

Here’s the article;

Why Creativity Is King In The Age of Disruption

The Knowledge Economy is gradually coming to a standstill. That’s because knowledge alone no longer is a key differentiator in an environment where information is ubiquitous. Creativity is. It is what will separate us from the crowd in the age of robots and speed (the pace, not the drugs). Are you prepared for the Creativity Economy? Well, it’s coming. And fast.

One: the robots are coming

The capabilities of robots seem to be increasing every day. It’s frankly terrifying. Artificial Intelligence has the bravest and brightest of us – Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak,Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking to name a few – sleeping very badly at night. We mortals might as well start writing welcome speeches for our robot overlords. Literally every human knowledge-oriented job that is bordering on routine –  yes, even anesthesiology, law advisory, online marketing and certain types of financial and sports reporting journalism (source) – is in danger of disappearing. Watch the terrifying documentary ‘Humans need not apply’, if you don’t believe me. University of Oxford researchers estimated that 47% of total U.S. jobs could be automated by 2033. That’s almost half of the professions that will disappear in less than 20 years. If you’re worried about your position – and you probably should be – you can start by taking this online Oxford quiz on the matter.Creativity has nothing to do with routine, though. It’s a skill that should survive the AI bulldozer for quite some time. That’s reason number one why you need creativity.

Two: You cannot fight new enemies with old weapons

Having experience is great. I have been working for more than 10 years in corporate communications now. I know things. Dark things. (Mostly bright ones, though, don’t you worry.) This knowledge allows me to respond faster, smarter and more efficiently to the questions and challenges I’m faced with. Having experience is (almost) as great as winning the lottery, … while eating chocolate cookies! Experience alone, though, will help you very little when you are confronted with the disruption of your industry. Yes, it will matter, obviously: the more you know, the better you will be at making new connections. But the creative ability to respond to completely new threats will be essential if you don’t want to end up being a deer caught in the headlights.

If your company is likely to be disrupted by the upcoming proliferation of 3D printers – like the prosthetic, military machinery, jewelry, electronics or automotive industry (source) – it might not be the best reaction to scan your experience and maybe investigate how to make your product even better (and thus often more expensive). It might be the time to re-examine your business model altogether and imagine new horizons. That’s number two: to survive sudden change, you need creativity.

Wars are the best examples of learning how to deal creatively with imponderables (which is actually just a fancy word for ‘the unknown’). Peter Hinssen likes to offer the inspiring example of how general Stanley McChrystal learned that he needed to let go of the old hierarchical military model for working and communicating with his team, when faced with the network that Al Qaeda was. McChrystal had to move beyond his experience and his usual way of thinking to respond to his changed environment. He knew that he needed to adapt. He knew that he had to do it fast. And he would never have found out how without without letting go of what he always knew to be true and without tapping into his creativity, .

Three: Finding Blue Oceans

Now, if you want to not only to survive a sudden and complete flip of your industry, but to thrive in it – or even induce the switch yourself – that’s a whole different ballpark. Not only do you need to respond right and fast, you should be running at the top of the race. You need radical innovation and to be the one to change your industry. And groundbreaking innovation without creativity is like a bar without beer. Do you see a pattern emerging, here? That’s reason number three: only the Boat of Creativity will steer you from Red Oceans to Blue Oceans. True, it might sound like something Lewis Caroll’s Cheshire Cat might have said, but that does not make it any less true.

Just be aware that Blue Oceans do tend to look crazy when you look at them from afar. I love this Quora inspired Inc. article that relates how ridiculous the founding ideas of successful start-ups can seem to those lacking the creativity to see their potential. Facebook was hilariously described like this: “The world needs yet another social network a la MySpace or Friendster, except several years later. We’ll only open it up to a few thousand overworked, antisocial Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then follow, since Harvard students are so cool.” It’s safe to say that you need a lot of imagination (and a significant amount of chutzpah) for radical innovation.

I hope you can agree that creativity, imagination and the ability to see connections between unrelated subjects will become essential differentiators in the coming years. So why is creativity not given more prominence in the entire education chain, from kindergarten to university? Or why are the most creative jobs the ones which are the most undervalued (and underpaid, for that matter)? And why are governments in so many countries spending less and less of their budget on subsidizing creative industries? It’s something to think seriously about. Time to accord creativity the value it deserves, I’d say.

Two books on successful innovation that I recently read and enjoyed are “The Third Wave: An Entrepreneurs Vision Of The Future” by Steve Case and “Originals” by Adam Grant. Originals provides valuable insights and busts many myths associated with successful entrepreneurship.

Featured photo by Jeremy Thomas


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