Shopping Centers Today

AUG 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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32 S C T / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 CHANGE AGENTS 'Innovation' is increasingly a title, not just a job description, for retail real estate execs By Joel Groover hief innovation officers abound in Silicon Valley, and now the I-word is popping up on business cards in retail real estate as well. For these executives charged with fostering innovation at their companies, the goals may include wooing clicks-to-bricks retailers by offering them better data on property performance; reinventing how traditional properties look, feel and operate; cultivating new types of nonretail tenants; and staying ahead of the curve on 21st-century marketing strategies. "The pace of change, to put it bluntly, is ridiculous," said Gregg Katz, director of innovation and technology for the Atlanta-based Shopping Center Group. "So for me, this role isn't about having the answers to everything. It's about strategy, vision and, to a certain extent, project management and implementation. Having charted a path for ourselves, we want to move to the end of that path in as straight a line as we can." Even companies that have not carved out innovation- related positions are seeking to find new ways to adapt to change, experts say. Of late this has been particularly evident at industry conferences put on by ICSC and others, said David Poline, president and CEO of Atlanta-based re- cruiting firm Poline Associates. "I saw this a lot at the 2018 OAC Summit back in February," he said. "Much of the programming there was related to future-leaning topics." This past February Jim Ward assumed the role of vice president of innovation and new business ventures at CBL Properties. In his nearly 20-year career with that Chatta- GREGG KATZ, DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY FOR THE ATLANTA- BASED SHOPPING CENTER GROUP C

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