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What can commercial real estate learn from Pixar Animation Studios?

Consider the ‘Thinking Slow Acting Fast’ approach

He touted his “Thinking Slow Acting Fast” philosophy in achieving results. “I really think this idea of thinking slow, acting fast is crucial; especially because most projects are done in the exact opposite way,” Flyvbjerg told CBRE. “People think fast and then they’re forced to act slow because there are so many things they didn’t think through that are going to come back and bite them during delivery. That’s what you typically see. So we actually say that think slow, act fast is the rhythm of a successful project and think slow doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to take years for it, even though some people do that. But it means that you have to take sufficient time that you actually really know what it is that you’re doing once you start on the expensive part of the project, which is the project delivery.”

Engineers are great, but….

With all due respect to engineers, he suggested, folks with insight into human behavior are a good fit for modernity in business: “And it’s actually a problem that if you look at it historically,

doing big projects has grown out of engineering,” he said. “And engineers don’t think a lot about psychology and behavior. They think about things and they’re interested in things, and not

so much in people.

“But there’s one thing that is not part of the education and that is understanding human behavior. So that’s the new thing we want to bring to the field – you’ve got to look at the behavioral side. If you don’t look at the behavioral side, you’re never going to be able to do projects successfully.”

CRE could take some lessons from Pixar Films

Those working in the CRE sector could take a page from Pixar Films in learning how to bring projects to delivery, he added. He calls the approach “Pixar Planning,” appropriately enough.

“So the two things that you need to have in place upfront is that you have to have a realistic

business case,” Flyvbjerg said. “So you need to know what it is that you’re doing and you need to know whether you actually have the money. So that means you have to have a realistic budget and you wouldn’t believe how often that is violated.”

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