Spotlight on Innovation: Mitsubishi Estate

Editor’s note: This article is the first in a series of recurring articles on companies we see as leading the way in innovation. These companies will be from an array of industries, and we’ll have relationships with some, but just professional admiration for others. Our aim is to bring a balanced set of benchmarks to our readers.

Marunouchi Building and Shin-Marunouchi Building

Marunouchi Building and Shin-Marunouchi Building

Innovation in commercial real estate? At first glance, this statement might seem like an oxymoron to those of us who are not close to the industry, but a little bit of research shows that in the U.S., technology is beginning to disrupt the way commercial developers approach the business. From data sharing to crowdfunding, the same technologies that are impacting so many other industries are also starting to change the game in real estate. This sea change is exemplified by new start-ups as well as the creation of the industry organization Realcomm Conference Group, LLC whose goal is to facilitate conversations and the education of the industry “at the intersection of technology, innovation and real estate operations.”

Yet the innovation occurring here is often driven by the changing needs of tenants, who are frequently employing fewer employees along with promoting telecommuting, or want to implement flexible work spaces rather than traditional offices, as illustrated in a 2011 Forbes article. And those leading the charge are often new companies dedicated to taking a new approach. So all these conditions make us even more impressed with our own landlords at our new PARC Tokyo office, Mitsubishi Estate Group, Japan’s second largest and one of its oldest development companies.

The PARC office is located in Mitsubishi Estate’s EGG JAPAN (Entrepreneur Group for Growing JAPAN) center, a platform for creating new businesses. EGG JAPAN offers its clients a number of unique services including market development support, financing consultation, and business matching services to help tenants form partnerships and alliances. At PARC, we’ve benefitted from participating in one of their press events, plus they’ve assisted us with planning and hosting of our own events including our Innovation Workshops.

Beyond their start-up focus, Mitsubishi Estate is putting the concept of “interaction” at the center of all their developments.  Why is “interaction” so key? Mitsubishi Estate believes that bringing global companies together in an environment encouraging interaction between companies, not just within an individual company, will create value leading to economic success for their tenants, and ultimately their own business.

This concept is played out in other initiatives Mitsubishi Estate has launched in Marunouchi, the Tokyo area where EGG JAPAN is located. Some examples include the Marunouchi India Economic Zone, assisting Japanese and Indian companies in dealing with differences in laws, taxation, and culture to expand business; the provision of daycare centers to benefit both corporate clients as well as individuals, making work-life balance easier for parents; and implementation of an advanced information communication infrastructure connecting approximately 70 buildings with dedicated fiber optics to provide fast and secure communication services.

Mitsubishi Estate has gone beyond the changing demands of its clients to provide a cutting-edge approach to enabling its tenants’ success. And they’re demonstrating that innovative business models can be implemented by an experienced player in a traditionally stodgy industry.

We think many of us could learn from Mitsubishi Estate’s approach.

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