noun - (1) the division of something into two branches or parts. “the bifurcation of the profession into social do-gooders and self-serving iconoclasts” (2) either of two branches into which something divides. Source: Oxford Dictionary

Commercial Real Estate is really an industry in and of itself. A sense of place. Requirements. Bricks and Mortar. Acreage. Location. Tangibility.

After the location and requirement discussion, there’s a host of supportive roles; legal, accounting, project management, design, engineering, architecture, construction, audio-visual, furniture, and more. These are the placemakers of the world. and they do one heck of a job delivering place.

What happens when place moves to space?


The generalized world of commercial real estate just forked, branched, bifurcated, split, divided - or whatever other word you choose to use. In the world of opportunity, it’s called category creation and there’s a whole new way of thinking coming to a workspace near you.

This branch envisions how people work - not where. They’re thinking through platform details like UX/UI, enterprise security, centralized data/systems of record, document sharing, asynchronous communication, digital workflows, productivity tools, and engagement methods. They’re process mining and event modeling the way workflows get done rather than the activity-based design that defines where they get done.

In short -it’s how not where.

This isn’t being done in a vacuum by bots. These are real-life humans with heartbeats and feelings that are trying to figure this out.

Front of mind for this branch is engagement and connection through choice and flexibility. They’re asking, “How can we give the future workforce all the autonomy our mobile devices enable and tie them to a core purpose of their work?”

An interesting concept being considered is systems-based biophilic design. Simply put, it’s how nature does it.

A huge resource for us at Orion Growth is the book, “A Simpler Way” by Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers. This book grounds us in natural systems thinking which helps us to understand the root of the problem is natural, even psychological…..

People, Platform, and Place - In that order.


Workspace is a people problem first- because that’s what we’re solving for. We’re solving the organization’s ability to attract and retain talent above all else. Read that again. That’s why we’re here. To support people.


After that, the next generation is evaluating their prospective employer on their ability to provide them with the flexibility to WFA. That means platform. Specifically, it means meeting employees’ basic needs of security, experience, connectivity, and productivity from the device back. Where do files belong? How easy is it to share things? How many times do I need to log in? Can I choose to work both synchronously and asynchronously? How do we meet and exchange ideas if we’re distributed? Is the platform safe? This is how the work gets done by the people.


Arguably the most important of all - but third in order. Remember, this is an ordinal formula, not a cardinal formula. The space requirement is completely dependent upon getting the first two right and defining the TYPE of space with which your organization chooses to engage. Some will want traditional offices, while others will meet on mountaintops. Some will call their staff on all 5 weekdays and from 9a to 5a. Others won’t meet at all. This is the coolest part about place - how you use it is your choosing. The placemakers will listen, define, design, build, and deliver on that vision. That’s what the placemakers do…and they do it well.

So back to bifurcation.

The way we see it - there are spacemakers and there are placemakers. The branch, fork, split, divergence, and separation of the two is a necessary, natural progression towards solving for the future of work. These two branches are related and necessary. It’s not a zero-sum game. Trees don’t like one branch better than the other. They all diverge from the trunk and the roots support the whole. Maybe we can move the dialogue along if we simply state if we’re spacemakers or placemakers and accept both as necessary to support the whole future.

#TotalTenancy™ | #OrionGrowth™

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

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