Robert Coulson FRICS has worked his way up from his family construction business to consulting industry leaders on the future shape of the profession. As Robert achieved fellowship status in 2018, we asked him about the advice he'd picked up throughout his career.
I have been involved with the built environment since I was young; working in the family construction business. Over the years, I grew my career from construction to real estate advisory where I worked for some of the top global consulting firms. Along the way I learned from and admired many industry luminaries who influenced my understandings greatly. I saw these persons as having achieved the pinnacle of knowledge in real estate, and I recognized that many carried the credentials of “FRICS” from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
The principles espoused by RICS became a guiding light for my emerging career, and I continued to gain experience through numerous consulting assignments across the United States and internationally. Now, having achieved the FRICS designation, I realize the responsibility that I have to continue advancing my own understanding, while working with others to add to the knowledge base of peers and mentor those entering and growing in the field.
The more you share, the better everyone becomes. There is a prevailing misconception in society that knowledge is valuable because it is a proprietary resource. In fact, the abundance of knowledge-sharing is what creates value. This is especially true of knowledge-sharing in a peer network, where the knowledge base grows as you communicate your understanding of an issue, and your peers can contribute to a topic; thus, refining and enhancing knowledge base.
There is a prevailing misconception in society that knowledge is valuable because it is a proprietary resource. In fact, the abundance of knowledge-sharing is what creates value.
I am keenly interested in the confluence of new technologies in the built environment. The Internet of Things (IOT) gathers Big Data and supports Edge Analytics, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence. The blockchain ecosystem protects critical data and transfers value seamlessly among parties. Augmented Reality creates new opportunities for people to interface with the surrounding built environment and customize their user experiences.
These technologies are often presented in the media as point solutions, however the integration of these technologies will eventually help us recognize the true value of what many considered to be the single most important invention of our time - the internet - which is in fact only the communications platform that these new technologies will utilize. The implementation of these technologies will be a disruptive force in real estate and construction, realigning processes and adding value in ways that we have yet to realize.