TLGG x Aurelis – How to build a New Work Space in FFM

You see, I’ve been told that clients are an agency’s main problem.
I’ve been told that TLGG is “just” a social media agency.
I’ve been told that real estate companies are slow, boring, backward-looking and greedy.

Well…

In cooperation with TLGG, German real estate company Aurelis is exploring new grounds, developing the future of workspaces in an innovative new work space in Frankfurt. Setting out to attract more startups and fintech companies to the city, the real estate developer and our agency for digital transformation are conducting an experiment, a conversion project that supports founders in their companies’ early stages with what they need most: affordable space they can adapt and tailor according to their needs.

Our cooperation with Aurelis started out like many of our consulting projects do: as a presentation given by our tall pale boy Max Orgeldinger. Fast talking, an extensive deck, exquisite sources and meat enough to leave his audience impressed and contemplating. But it’s not just the project’s initial presentation that makes it typical for TLGG’s consulting projects. The whole undertaking serves as a blueprint for how to cooperate with your client and how to face and solve challenges as a team.

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But first things first.

As a real estate company in this day and age, Aurelis are well aware of the changes and turbulences affecting their core business – real estate. So they asked the transformers from Berlin for advice and support. We charged our iPhones, shouldered our Macs, hit the road, went to Eschborn. Handshakes, coffee, realtalk. The result: insights and strategic considerations melting into one mighty PPT – 103 slides of PowerPoint™ gloss. The client is happy, the digital transformation has happened, thank you for this great cooperation…

…well… no.

This first serve was but the beginning of something big. A kid that makes the parents proud. A basketball player scoring the winning points a fraction of a fraction of a second before the game’s end. A driver actually indicating when they’re leaving the roundabout. Some sweet stuff, that’s what we’re saying.

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Aurelis’s core business is in flux. As people’s mode of working is subject to some radical changes, so are their requirements when it comes to workspace. Real estate is not just an expense factor anymore, it becomes a productive factor. It’s not just a hygiene factor for its workers, but a motivator, an enabler and a recruiting tool. The whole environment changes, from cubicle traditions towards an open and interactive area (Google’s colorful office spaces may be the most tangible and blunt manifestation of this tendency). In addition, workers’ backs will be happy to see not only ergonomic chairs enter the office, but also standing desks, beanbag chairs, hammocks and the weekly masseur.

All these are details, soft factors obviously depending on the mindset of individual employers and not necessarily part of our cultural consensus. The new working world, however, will also give more significance to basic, elementary aspects of space – acoustics, engineering, adaptable seating and partitioning, access to technology and spaces of refuge will gain more importance than today’s prevalent wall-wall-wall-wall-roof-door-Internet concepts usually grant them.

But what if the landlord has thought of all this? What if they actually want to understand the needs of their renters? What if TLGG does not believe that extensive research and a ten-step consolidation of their findings will give you all the answers? What if a Gantt chart, two Venn diagrams and three workshops will only yield old and generic results? Well, then let’s try this: let’s take our questions regarding new trends to the actual pioneers, to those setting those trends. Let’s try and understand their influence, let’s weave our findings into our own original processes. If you want to know about new forms of work, ask those employing them. So far, so good, so tell me something new.

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Here’s our plan: Create a lab in an empty building in West Frankfurt. Make this experimental space the core seed for a practical learning process, for a profound understanding of a trend. Make it a symbol of how serious we are about winning this game of Do or Die. In cooperation with TLGG, Aurelis wants to learn from startups as drivers and test drivers of new work spaces. This means adapting this new space to changing needs and requirements. In a competition supervised by a:dk, students from the Mainz School of Design and Stuttgart’s Hochschule für Technik will design spaces that will serve the needs for adaptability, openness, familiarity and refuge. The winning design will then be realized by renowned architects meyer schmitz-morkramer under the creative direction of the winning designers.

To fill this idea with life, we send out this call for participation to all fintechs in their early stages: Do apply! It will be worth it. Win our pitch day and get to work in these freshly renovated spaces rent-free for nine months. Win access to the swag provided by our partners and a 1 GB/s fiberglass connection. The whole package will include software solutions, mentoring, presentations and legal consulting. Get to it if you’re serious about founding.

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Indeed, on a more serious note:

This project perfectly illustrates how a nice presentation and two workshops alone are not enough to prepare your company for digital transformation and a smart approach to the disruption of your business. It takes an ideal, individual combination of observation, action, ability to fail and readiness to conduct experiments with often unexpected results. Most of all, however, you need to be willing and able to act to try and get an idea of a development and challenges that often are a first for everyone involved. Let’s not start fencing in the dark and hope our eyes stay intact. Let’s be prepared for insecurities, let’s don some safety goggles and a chest protector for good measure.

And just to circle back to our initial I’ve-been-tolds: you will need intrinsic motivation and an honest concern from your clients. It may sound banal, even cheesy. But most of all, it seldomly comes as naturally as one should think. It does with this project. And it’s great. We like it, we need it, we want more of it.