The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Salad Days - Waldorf FM Innovate Conference Goes Nuts

28 April 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

By Emer McCourt – Head of Digital, and

On April 23rd over 200 facilities management executives gathered in Central London for the first FM Innovate Conference,  hosted by joint sponsors and Search Office Space, to interact with a series of inspirational speakers, workshops, panel discussions and roundtables, designed to inspire even the most experienced FM professionals.

The day sparked off with a terrific panel delving into questions about the future of FM - focusing on how to raise the level of the profession and deliver strategic value to the customers in world that is changing like wildfire.  If fuel, heat and oxygen are the three components for any fire, the panel laid down plenty of all three that set the heated tone for the rest of the day. Other topics discussed included hot desking, teleworking, homeworking versus office working, energy savings and responsibility to the planet, security arrangements, data protection, cybercrime, hacking, and terrorist attacks. Moderated by Brian Shillibeer from ThisWeekinFM, the panel included Simon Wells, from Zurich Insurance, Liz Kentish from Kentish and Co, Les O’Gorman from UCB Celltech and Oleh Melnyk from Accenture.

The room ignited with anticipation as the next topic under the spotlight was the FM profession’s priority to build, create and manage a changing work place. A workplace for the future:  a workplace grappling with issues such as agile working in the new economy and successfully optimising underutilised workspaces. Taking up the baton, Caleb Parker CEO of took to the stage to present the keynote on ‘third place: agile working in the new economy’ – touching on workspace usage analytics and data to make smart space decisions with a focus on how this is predicted to impact on the role of FM. 

Next up, Justin Halewood, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank outlined plans to embrace technology that seemed more like a scene from a hi-tech futuristic movie, titled ‘The Internet of Things’, but the bank’s robust investment in technology is very real, and very current.  Justin’s riveting presentation outlined various ongoing Standard Chartered projects to fully leverage technology to send and receive, collate and measure data across a variety of projects; data that will be will be amassed and optimised for various objectives to make sure that ‘bad things happen less’. Smart devices that help us drive safer, get skinnier and sleep better are becoming more mainstream but what’s interesting for the FM world is that a number of these devices are recording their staff using their own data, as part of corporate wellness programmes. The company Fitbit is already selling these devices to thousands of firms to create office weight loss and fitness league tables.  Standard Chartered is already doing this in Singapore.

Attendees were treated to a refreshing presentation by Eco celebrity and TV presenter Oliver Heath, from Health Designs on ‘The Emerging Science and Style of Biophilic Design’. If that sounds like a mouthful – think again: the world of biophilic design and sustainably is all about simplicity -  natural light, beauty, nature and space – lots of it. The psychological and physiological health benefits of biophilic design in the workplace is now well documented.  Companies like Apple and Google are already advocates. Where they go, others seem to follow. As soon as more data becomes available on how biophilic design improves productivity and profits, predications are that FM will be fully embracing nature too.

Other cutting-edge presentations included technological improvements in soundscape (George Coffin, Head of FM Europe & Africa, Plantronics), optimising team performance (David Readle Performance Psychologist, Team GB Cycling), emotional intelligence (Liz Kentish, Managing Director, Kentish and Co), using technology to reduce costs (John Galsworthy, CTO, 360 Globalnet), and raising the FM profile in the general public (Sarah Bentley, CEO, The Building Futures Group).

After a day that outlined the impact of the new world of data, cybercrime, security, technology and the new workspace on the role of FM,  the insightful presentation by Adam Mason from B&Q brought it all back to basics:  people. People are at the heart of FM – customers, suppliers, staff. Adam is driving a massive change in B&Q; he shared his inspirational story about putting budget and decisions in the hands of FM and maintenance in order to delivery meaningful, people-centred change that also improves profits.  Music to the ears of all in the room.

Alison Walsh from Gardiner & Theobald moderated the closing keynote panel, including Martin Frohock, ARM, Tanem Mehmet from Green & Co, Sam Leigh from JD Williams and David Wright from The DX Group, to discuss the critical issues for FM of procurement, budgets and collaboration.
It was an apt close to an excellent day. The future of FM may be changing but the heart of the profession is to deliver transformative change to improve the lives of people. Soon the gathering headed off for an evening of cocktail drinks, networking and a three-course Gala Dinner at the Waldorf Hotel to continue networking and no doubt, more heated discussions on the future role of FM.

 I am left in no doubt that FM is so hot right now, it will soon need its own fire suppression system to take the heat out of the issues on the table at the FM Innovate Conference. I will definitely be back in October at the next Innovate FM conference at the, Jumeriah in Knightsbridge, - to find out how things are evolving in a profession that is continually changing.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Article written by Emer McCourt | Published 28 April 2015


Related Articles

Festival of Sustainable Business Returns

After a two-year hiatus, The Festival of Sustainable Business returns to the Bristol Hotel on 21 September 2021. With sustainability high on the corporate agenda and a...

 Read Full Article
Workplace Week International 2020 Line-up Revealed

Workplace Week International 2020, held between 9-12 November, is a virtual festival that celebrates global workplace transformation.  Siemens Global, Max...

 Read Full Article
Dame Hackitt Will Reinforce Safety Message at BESA Conference

Building safety reformer Dame Judith Hackitt is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s BESA National Conference, which is being held online on November...

 Read Full Article
At The Races – Newbury Appoints Contractor

January 22 saw OCS announce that the company been selected by Newbury Racecourse to provide cleaning and 'customer services'.   The contract will see...

 Read Full Article
Smart Buildings Briefing Review

On September 18 Property Affiliates organised a briefing hosted by Avison Young at their offices in Central London. The subject - Smart Buildings – influencing...

 Read Full Article
Enocean Alliance At Smart Buildings Show

EnOcean Alliance members will be exhibiting maintenance-free wireless sensor solutions for smart buildings at the Smart Buildings show at London’s Olympia on...

 Read Full Article
Gavazzi On Show At Smart Buildings

Controls and Automation specialist, Carlo Gavazzi will be returning to this year’s Smart Buildings show at London’s Olympia on October 9-10. Smart...

 Read Full Article
WorkTech London Speaker Programme Announced

Details have been announced for this year’s flagship WorkTech London conference that takes place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre on November...

 Read Full Article
Smart Buildings Show Is Open For Registration

The UK’s cornerstone Smart Buildings event is back with more visitors, more stands and more conference content for 2019. The free-to-attend event takes place at...

 Read Full Article
Think Dethunked - IWFM Conference Replaces Stalwart

ThinkFM, that stalwart of the FM industry conference calendar is no more. The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management has announced a national summit operating...

 Read Full Article