Top of the List for 2014: Some Industry Innovators Share Their Thoughts


It’s a fresh new year and, as you know, Officing Today has been running a poll on our cover pages asking what the top initiatives will be for business centers in 2014. The answers have been spread somewhat equally among the choices, so we decided to ask a few industry innovators what’s topping their lists for the New Year.

The responses cover a broad range, as one might guess. Here’s what they’re saying.

The push for automation and better interconnectivity between systems will continue to take on a growing role in business centers in the new year. Nowhere is this more evident than in the dynamics of booking and filling meeting room space. For Caleb Parker, CEO of, automation will be key to improving the way we handle meeting room inventory.

“Growing meeting room bookings is obviously my priority for 2014. But for that to happen, as I’ve been saying for a couple of years, automating the distribution of our industry’s meeting room inventory is a must. Opening up the inventory is the key to scale. So I will lead and participate in initiatives that move this segment of our industry forward.”

Surprising new innovations are gaining traction in the business center industry. One that is getting a lot of attention is 3-D printing. Are there synergies between this hot new technology and business centers?

Jerome Chang, owner of BLANKSPACES, believes we should pay attention. “Many owners and operators of coworking spaces tend to fit the demographics of those who would be fans or tinkerers of 3-D printing. This could be the new version of the modern warehouse: minimal office up front, and manufacturing/assembling/storage in the back, which is where the “machinery” for the 3-D printing will be. In fact, the tendency for coworking spaces to use “creative spaces” that were previously warehouses, may now become those warehouses once again!”

With so much new technology and trends gaining ground, how do business centers achieve balance between what is new and exciting and what continues to work for their clients?

For Mark Burge, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Premier Business Centers, the answer is multi-fold and he shared four top agenda items with us:

  • 1) Continued assessment and development of product offering that provide solutions to the changing needs of clients whilst staying focused on the core products that clients have and continue to need;
  • 2) Focusing on ensuring the “value” proposition of our serviced, outsourced workspace environment, which speaks to and delivers on the needs of our clients;
  • 3) Maximizing opportunities that an improving economy presents whilst maintaining the core values that the company has become known for; and –
  • 4) Continued investment and focus on training & development of our teams.

For Premier, people will always be key to its success. As Mark concludes, “An office is an office, our people and the client experience they deliver is the single biggest differentiator between us and our competition.”

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    How do we plan to communicate in 2014? Will social media continue to dominate the landscape?

    Cristina Santamarina, Sales Manager of COBOT, talked about communication. “In 2014 I am going to focus on communication, which I believe is vital if you want to improve your relationships with coworkers, clients or friends. I will keep using the usual channels – like Twitter, that let me connect with other like-minded people no matter where they are – but I also plan to focus on writing better blog posts and longer pieces that will let me share some complex and interesting ideas that don’t fit within 140 characters. The web is social, but nothing compares to the power of putting names to faces and spending time away from the keyboard with someone. More offline communications in conferences, events or trips remain at the top of my list for 2014.”

    Finally, what use is a new year, however, without a reflective look inward at the more personal attributes and attitudes that will go into making us successful?

    We’ll end this article with Becky Beattie, Director of Marketing for ROC business centers, who reflects on three major ingredients to success.

    “It seems like there are three key ingredients that are essential to realizing big dreams. Any of these two will get you far, but if you embody all three, watch out! The first two are fairly obvious. With intelligence and hard work, success will be yours. We’re all intelligent in our own right and, with diligence we can hone our innate gifts. And if you’re intelligent, you know you have to put the hours in to see results. The third ingredient is where the magic happens. There is no stopping a person who is smart, assiduous and has imagination. Looking forward to 2014, let’s all imagine what we want, put an intelligent plan together and work our tails off to make it happen!”

    Who can disagree with that? Let us know what’s topping your list for 2014. Was it mentioned here? We’d like to hear from you.

    Image source – Stuart Miles

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