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Digitalization and innovation in the real estate and facility management sectors - an ecosystem perspective
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Real Estate and Construction Management, Construction and Facilities Management.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7559-4761
2020 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Digitalization has become a topic of several presentations and discussions in real estate industry seminars in recent years. Often the speeches are about why the real estate industry needs digitalization, presenting threats and opportunities for the participants of the seminars. Still, real estate industry is conservative by nature and thus far property owners have not needed to innovate in order to stay in business. Therefore, a question arises that how do real estate owners react to the growing expectations about digitalization. On the other hand, relatively little is known about the innovativeness of real estate firms, as innovation research in built environment sector has largely focused on building project management phase organizations and facility management firms. Still, the real estate owners have a central role and a long-term perspective on the innovation in the built environment sector as a whole, as they are clients in all building life-cycle phases.

Thus, this thesis purpose is to increase understanding of digitalization as a phenomenon in the real estate and facility management sectors: 1) by distinguishing the phenomenon in relation to existing research and 2) by generating new knowledge on digitalization in the field by explorative research.

In order to distinguish the phenomenon in relation to existing research, the thesis provides a structured literature review that focuses on digitalization in the real estate and facility management sector. The main conclusion is that digitalization is a complex phenomenon, including multiple perspectives and conceptualizations, although, the literature converges on rather distinct topics of digital systems and methods, technology adoption and organization and management. Additionally, the review provides a discussion of opportunities for further research. An argument is made for sociotechnical perspective to provide opportunities for better managerial comprehension on the complex phenomenon.

In order to generate new knowledge on digitalization in the field, particularly, on the innovativeness of real estate firms, the thesis provides summaries of two papers. The first paper focuses on the innovation processes in the real estate owner organizations and the second paper focuses on the innovation ecosystem that comprises of actors that contribute towards common innovation goals. The papers are based on interviews with the various real estate industry actors and document analysis. The papers converge on results, concluding that the real estate owners have invested in resources and capabilities for innovation, but it is still challenging for them to act on the digital threats and opportunities. Additionally, the second paper develops an operationalizable definition and methodology for research on innovation ecosystems, which has relevance for the more general literature on innovation and strategy.

Thus, this thesis distinguishes digitalization as a phenomenon in the built environment management sectors and increases understanding on the innovativeness of real estate firms’ and other actors that contribute to the innovativeness of the real estate sector as a whole.

Abstract [sv]

Digitalisering har blivit ett ofta återkommande ämne för ett stort antal seminarier inomfastighetsbranschens under de senaste åren. En återkommande fråga har varit hurfastighetsbranschen hanterar digitaliseringen, samt om vilka hot och möjligheterdigitaliseringen innebär för branschen. Fastighetsbranschen uppfattas ofta som konservativoch hittills har fastighetsägare inte tvingats vara särskilt innovativa för att kunna fortsätta sinverksamhet. En intressant fråga i sammanhanget är därför hur fastighetsägare reagerar på deväxande förväntningarna om digitalisering från omvärlden. Relativt lite är känt ominnovationsförmågan hos fastighetsföretag, eftersom innovationsforskningen inom byggdmiljö till stor del har fokuserat på byggprojekt och fastighetsförvaltning. Fastighetsägarna hardock fortfarande en central roll och borde ha ett långsiktigt perspektiv på innovationer inomden byggda miljön som helhet, eftersom de är verksamma inom byggnadens alla faser ilivscykeln.Mot denna bakgrund är avhandlingens syfte att öka förståelsen för digitalisering som fenomeninom fastighetsförvaltningen: 1) genom att analysera fenomenet i förhållande till denbefintliga forskningen och 2) genom att generera ny kunskap om digitalisering inom områdetgenom intervjuer och dokumentanalys.För att särskilja fenomenet digitalisering i förhållande till befintlig forskning innehålleravhandlingen en strukturerad litteraturöversikt som fokuserar på digitalisering inomfastighetsförvaltningen. Den huvudsakliga slutsatsen från denna litteraturöversikt är attdigitalisering är ett komplext fenomen, som innehåller flera perspektiv ochkonceptualiseringar, även om litteraturen fokuserar på ett antal distinkta ämnen: digitalasystem och metoder, anpassning av teknik och organisation samt förvaltning. Dessutominnehåller översikten en diskussion om relevanta områden för vidare forskning. Vidare geröversikten vid handen, att genom att anlägga ett socio-tekniskt perspektiv ges bättremöjligheter att förstå digitalisering.För att skapa ny kunskap om digitalisering, särskilt vad gäller fastighetsföretagensinnovativitet, innehåller avhandlingen två artiklar. Den första artikeln fokuserar påinnovationsprocesser inom fastighetsföretag och den andra artikeln fokuserar påinnovationsekosystemet som består av ett antal olika aktörer som bidrar till gemensammainnovationsmål. Artiklarna bygger på intervjuer med olika aktörer inom fastighetsbranschenoch dokumentanalys. Artiklarnas resultat pekar åt samma håll, och slutsatsen som kan dras äratt fastighetsägarna har investerat i resurser och kapacitet för innovation, men det ärfortfarande en stor utmaning för dem att agera på digitala hot och möjligheter. Dessutomutvecklar den andra artikeln en definition och metod för forskning om innovationsekosystem,som har relevans för forskning inom innovation och strategi.

Således särskiljer denna avhandling digitaliseringen som ett fenomen inom den byggda miljönoch ökar förståelsen för fastighetsföretagens innovationsförmåga och andra aktörer sombidrar till innovationer inom fastighetssektorn som helhet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2020. , p. 62
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 1949
Keywords [en]
business ecosystem, digitalization, digitization, digital transformation, facilities management, facility management, innovation, innovation ecosystem, property technology, proptech, real estate, social network analysis
National Category
Construction Management Building Technologies Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-266951ISBN: 978-91-7873-421-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-266951DiVA, id: diva2:1388705
Presentation
2020-02-18, E2, Lindstedsvägen 3, KTH, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20200127

Available from: 2020-01-27 Created: 2020-01-27 Last updated: 2020-03-03Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Digitalization and innovation in the real estate sector
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Digitalization and innovation in the real estate sector
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Recently, digitalization has emerged as a main theme in the industry discourse in the real estate sector. In this discourse, some influencers foresee that digitalization poses disruption, even an existential threat, to the traditional actors, which are expected to make “digital transformations” to remain relevant. Others emphasize the potential of digitalization to drive efficiency, sustainability and servitization of the industry. However, the real estate sector is a mature business environment with a low rate of innovation and limited R&D resources, and it is not evident how this traditional sector reacts to the multitude of new predictions and propositions. Based on theories of innovation management, this study investigates real estate owners’ sense-making and strategizing in this area: how do they seek information and prioritize which initiatives to take? Which actions are taken? How are structures for innovation management affected, within firms as well as on the industry level? The results are based on semi- structured interviews conducted with respondents responsible for digital development in large private and public real estate owners in Sweden, as well as with representatives of industry associations. Findings include that real estate firms and industry associations emphasize digitalization-related opportunities to improve efficiency and tenant satisfaction, as well as to create new services and business models. Also, real estate firms perceive that change is needed to remain competitive, and as a response, they have created digitalization strategies, formed new organizational units and recruited new people to lead digitalization efforts. Further, they have established new collaborative relationships to industry networks and competitors.

Keywords
dynamic capabilities, digital transformation, digitalization, real estate, innovation
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-266890 (URN)
Conference
ARCOM 2018 Conference
Note

QC 20200129

Available from: 2020-01-24 Created: 2020-01-24 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved
2. An operationalizable definition and method for research on innovation ecosystems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An operationalizable definition and method for research on innovation ecosystems
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The concept of innovation ecosystem has attracted much research in strategy and innovation fields in recent years. The expansion of literature without common definitions or methodology has caused ambiguity about what innovation ecosystems are about. Recently, several authors have criticized the conceptual and methodological rigor in innovation ecosystems research and called for research focusing on the systemic nature of innovation ecosystems.

This paper builds on these critical accounts by providing an operationalizable definition of innovation ecosystem: a system of actors that contribute towards a common system-level innovation goal. Based on this definition, the paper provides a methodological approach that quantifies qualitative data and then analyses that quantitative data by social network analysis. This method is used for multi-level, multi-layer ecosystem analysis. The definition and methodology are operationalized in a study of innovation ecosystem in the real estate sector.

Keywords
innovation ecosystem, social network analysis, real estate, digitalization, innovation, facility management, construction
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-266891 (URN)
Note

QC 20200129

Available from: 2020-01-24 Created: 2020-01-24 Last updated: 2020-01-29Bibliographically approved

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