Pre TEDxSydney workshop confirms for JLL that the office is not dead


Global real estate services firm, JLL will feature an ‘Urban Canvas’ at the TEDxSydney event this month, to showcase visions and aspirations of what the future workplace, built environment and city landscape could look like.

The view from a pre-event workshop held by JLL in Sydney was that the office will be alive and well in the future – just more collaborative, with a greater focus on health and well-being.

In an industry first, JLL is partnering with TEDxSydney to tap into the ideas, creativity and diversity of its highly engaged community that will attend the event at the Sydney Opera House on 25 May 2016, to gain insights and forward looking views about the future of work.

In the lead up to the TEDxSydney event, JLL held a co-creation workshop in Sydney with 40 participants, to start work on this vision. The workshop focused on what should be built today for tomorrow. If we could start again and could build a new urban environment from a blank canvas - how would we develop spaces to live, work and play?

The workshop format was a collaboration between JLL, TEDxSydney, Vivant & Curious Collective.

JLL Director of Corporate Solutions, Rajiv Nagrath said, “The workshop confirmed all that we are forecasting and visualising for the future in terms of advances in technology, transport and health.  But we all remained of the same view – no matter how much the built environment, technology or cities change, the key need for people in 2050 will be the same as today, human connection.

“So from a JLL point of view with our focus on the work environment of the future, our conclusion is that the office is not dead.  Whilst people don’t want CBDs anymore, they certainly still want built structures, to allow collaboration.

“Instead of traditional single-use structures such as office towers – people want more multi-functional, mixed-use buildings that enable them to co-work with diverse industries and their teams, at hubs closer to home. This might translate into smaller CBDs growing in demand and importance, e.g. Parramatta and North Sydney.

“Whilst technology today has equated to flexible working, and being able to work from home more, or remotely, attendees felt that the future would see people utilising face to face time to share and foster ideas and innovation.

Urban Canvas is the name we have given our partnership to reflect our concept of asking the TEDxSydney community what their ideal urban environment would be – how people want to work in the future and what kind of built environment they want to work in.

“We want to use these insights to develop a feasible vision of the workplace and building of the future, to ensure our clients are at the forefront of this future vision to be ready and prepare for the radically changing work environment,” said Mr Nagrath.

JLL’s Australian Head of Property & Asset Management, Richard Fennell said the radically changing work environment meant that occupiers will drive the type of office buildings that are built in the future.

“Whilst the TEDxSydney community reflected on the surmountable change technology would bring to our built environment, basic human needs in regard to connections, social consciousness and community continued to be the key themes of the day.  In a world driven by the ‘next big thing’, it became apparent that people were craving less screen time and more face-to-face interaction.

“Establishing human connection within a built environment is at the heart of ‘placemaking’ and customer experience, and remains a key focus for JLL. Providing people with places to connect, innovate and co-create is becoming more important than ever before.

“JLL’s approach across Australia in the buildings we manage reflects the ethos that tenants are customers and the office is no longer regarded only as a place to work, but must involve an emphasis on lifestyle, convenience and amenity,” said Mr Fennell.

Kate Dezarnaulds, Head of Partnerships, TEDxSydney said, “We’re excited to partner with JLL for project ‘Urban Canvas’ to envisage the future workspace, built environs and city landscapes. This partnership began with a workshop to imagine the ‘Future of Work’, for which TEDxSydney hand-picked a team from its deeply engaged and diverse community who were keen to work collaboratively to imagine the future of our urban cities. Bringing together some of the brightest minds from the TEDxSydney community at this workshop helped push the boundaries of traditional problem solving to create new approaches, insights and opportunities.

“The rich ideas generated at this workshop are being further distilled and developed by professional town planners, architects and artistes. On 25th May 2016 at the Sydney Opera House, we will bring to life and share the outcome of the ‘Urban Canvas’ project. It is highly encouraging to note the high level of enthusiasm and deep engagement of the TEDxSydney community in bringing to life the TED mission of ‘ideas worth spreading’.”

Said Gauri Bhalla, CEO, Curious Collective, “The workshop represented the heart of the TXS community. The range and depth of creative, human ideas shared with an optimistic, playful spirit gave us a sense that we can – and will – create the future we want to inhabit. Boundaries and existing thinking was smashed and teams challenged each other to create the “why not”? They pushed and extended the brief – their passion and energy for the topic came across clearly. We look forward to seeing how JLL translates all this ‘blue-sky’ thinking into ideas for the future of our cities.”


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