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5Q PropTech Interview - Menno Lammers Founder at PropTech for Good

April 14, 2022

1.  You have significant experience across PropTech, innovation and real estate. Can you describe what has brought you to where you are today?

Since 2005 I have been involved in innovation in the real estate and developed a keen interest in digital developments and societal trends. In 2015 I worked as an independent strategy & innovation consultant on behalf of a leading international property management company. We were working on the question: “how can we organize property management 10x faster, better and cheaper" (moonshot thinking). At the end of 2015, this client asked if I wanted to do research on digital developments in the real estate sector in the UK. When I approached my international network, someone pointed out the word 'PropTech' to me. As it turned out, no one had claimed PropTech as a term in the Netherlands, while there were already quite a few startups active in that field. I decided to register, published the first PropTech article 'PropTech is a movement' and founded PropTechNL.

On 22 April 2020 (Earth Day), I planted the first seed for the PropTech for Good movement by launching the website to make the real estate sector fit for purpose. the PropTech for Good is a global movement of people who use business as a force for good. The alliance is built by real estate and technology businesses - the visionaries, business builders, and pioneers. Those who actively drive dialogue, action, and change to reshape the built environment. Those who use technology as a lever to make a positive impact on societal challenges. By unlocking their potential, they enable them to take actions that are better for the world, good for business and life-changing for people. United by a common goal of unlocking humanpotential and finding solutions to the world's most pressing challenges, we explore ways to create a responsible, resilient, and regenerative environment.

My imagination, curiosity, drive to build the something new, and cooperation with team members, customers, partners, ambassadors (we joined forces with 40 PropTech associations from around the world), Board of Impact, business network, and reading content and books have brought me where I am today.

2.  You’ve written about Society 5.0 and the need for a regenerative approach to innovation. How can the real estate industry leverage technology to achieve this?

Now, PropTech - the fusion of Property + Technology - was mainly used to sustaining and extending the way things are done now with current paradigms, assumptions, data, and infrastructure (for example digitising existing business processes). Currently, the real estate industry has a degenerative character and it’s losing fitness for purpose. To create a regenerative society (creating the conditions conducive for life to continuallyrenew itself, to transcend into new forms, and to flourish amidst ever-changing life conditions) a transformative shift with new patterns beyond the reach of the current real estate systems is needed. This shift must go hand in hand with an underlying shift in the way we think about ourselves, our relationships with each other, and life as a whole. Regenerative strategies connect policy, technology, finance, health & wellness, compassion & awareness, creativity, play, art, and meaning.

Society 5.0 is the transition zone towards a regenerative society. Society 5.0 is “A human-centered society that balances economic progress with solving social problems through a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space”. To achieve this transition, we need impact projects (projects that encourage experimentation + learning experiences with stakeholders - that’s beyond sourcing a solution to implement) and challenges (missions that’s require multiple stakeholders and industries to discover the unknown).

In my opinion, the real estate sector can achieve these visions by reinventing their business and setting BHAGs, recruiting new talent, investing in digital skills and R&D, joining new associations and networks, and learning and collaborating from other industries to leverage technology. Read more

3.  How does PropTech for Good work alongside industry leaders to identify and support emerging innovations?

We love to work with ambitious and brave real estate leaders, those who really want to make a difference in the world. Leaders who want to create a positive impact, innovate, and are open to international cooperation. We help them create meaningful connections and guide them through the PropTech for Good landscape, making us an extension of the organisation. We empower those leaders by unlocking their potential so that they can flourish while engaging in activities that are better for the world, good for business and life-changing for people. To innovate the organisations to shape the built environment it is important to research the question behind the question. Experience has shown that gaining insight into the actual challenge / mission behind the demand for a solution is key. This enables you to create added value and not just put forward a solution. Read more

4.  In your opinion, which technologies will be instrumental in helping the RE industry achieve its 2030 and 2050 sustainability goals?

First, we need to develop a 21st century mindset. A ‘for Good’ mindset. A mindset of long-term, cathedral-like, and holistic thinking to work on the global issues of the 21st century. This mindset will call everything into question. Secondly, we need to develop system value models. Creating system value means businesses in no way hinders and ideally contributes to society’s progress toward future fitness. Thirdly we need to broaden the definition of technology because we will not make it with digital technology alone. It is about a combination of digital, physical, and nature technology. This means that we need digital solutions that do not make it possible to measure things (IoT), radically optimise them (AI) and make them transparent (Blockchain) to start with scope 1-3. In addition, we will have to start designing with low CO2 levels (biomimicry, circular) and using regional (used) materials. Last but not least, we will have to become part of nature and work together with it (e.g. trees in urban areas against heat stress).

In other words, we must put the societal problem centre stage. Develop new visions of how real estate can make a positive contribution to solving them and how technology can act as a lever. And not the other way around as we have developed the PropTech movement over the past five years focused on what and how. The choices (e.g. for the VC: do we go for creating mythical unicorns or do we choose to raise real animals, like zebras?) we make in the next five years will determine our future for decades to come. For the Proptech for Good movement, it’s all about solving real global challenges and being part of the (local) solution. Read more

5.  Which key trends do you predict will have the greatest impact on the real estate sector in 2022 and beyond?

Recently I published my annual trend blog “12 trends that will change the real estate industry in 2022”. I wrote about collective awakening, cracking systems, the great reignition for the future of work, metaverse: hype or the next big thing, catalyst of innovation, power to the PropTech start-ups & scale-ups, net-zero: from pledges to action, concerted action to accelerate ESG, larger climate shadows, ClimateTech is going to thrive, cybersecurity on the board agenda, and regeneration is the new buzz word. If we zoom out further, we see beyond trends like societal systems failure (finance, logistics, labor, education, et cetra), phygital (the integration of the physical and digital world), ecological endgame (code red IPCC report), and discovering natural intelligence. To make positive progress we are reconsidering value(s), restoring commonality, and reuniting with nature. All these trends will influence how we live, work, and play in the future. Read more

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