If you haven’t bumped into them by now—well, they’ve probably bumped into you. We’re talking about the droves of people roaming across town, phones in hand, in hot pursuit of Pokémon.
Pokémon Go is the augmented reality game that takes the physical world as seen through your phone’s camera lens and overlays it with a virtual fantasy realm teeming with monsters to catch, tame and train. It’s so popular that it’s already overtaking Twitter and Netflix in daily use—and surprising the owners of small local shops who suddenly have a stampede of people at their door.
But what Pokémon has given us is not so much a crew of pocket-sized monsters but an entirely new way to interact with the world. And it’s a broad trend that could have a major impact on commercial real estate.
Think about it: we may one day be using augmented reality to layer virtual landscaping and design elements onto a vacant space for property tours, or to liven up commercial districts and promote foot traffic through Pokémon-style incentives.
Sometimes the most interesting opportunities come from unexpected sources.
So where do you find the future trends and ideas that can spark new business?
While we follow a number of CRE-specific blogs and websites, we also think it's smart to cast a wider net. Here’s a rundown of resources that don’t necessarily focus on commercial real estate but which can still illuminate our industry and point the way to fresh opportunities:
- Cassandra Daily covers a variety of cultural and business trends and is where you’ll spot intel on everything from hotel brands for millennials to multi-purpose retail environments, like activewear stores-turned-fitness studios and auto dealerships whose showrooms double as spas.
- Springwise is an “idea-spotting network” that curates innovative ideas from around the globe—including this trend of shape-shifting restaurants.
- Trendhunter is a great for uncovering retail trends and opportunities, like Starbucks’ newest foray into gourmet Italian bakery chains or a fresh way to make the most of parking lots.
- TED is where you may just stumble upon a talk that redefines how you think about the real estate industry as a whole—and your place in it. Check out Ellen Dunham-Jones’ talk on retrofitting suburbia, Jeff Speck on walkable cities, and Kent Larson on fitting more people into cities. Looking for more? Search for keywords like “retail,” “office,” or “cities” — or check out some more of our favorite talks.
Where do you turn for inspiration? Let us know which non-industry resources you use most for spotting CRE opportunities!