Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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INNOVATION 280 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 SCB: What's the next issue to tackle? Edison: Our second group is looking at what ancillary businesses — in addition to our main business of owning and op- erating strong shopping centers — would make us better at our main business. We have a fully integrated company, but we know that there are other opportunities for us to be innovative. The second group has come up with their recommendation, but we did not choose to implement their recommendation. We asked them to go back to the process because we needed more clarification and more thought. They are working through that now. So we don't expect miracles from this pro- cess. We expect innovation. We are also in the process of generating the topic for our third lab. SCB: This kind of initiative takes a big commitment from the company. Edison: It is a big time commitment and a big financial commitment. From the re- sults that we've seen so far, we think that this will be an ongoing and important part of PECO. SCB: Do you think it also helps in that your associates provide significant input on the future of the company and its strategy? Edison: Absolutely. The ability for our associates to connect with where the com- pany is going overall is amazing. Engaging in the strategic planning process creates a mechanism for them to begin to under- stand that. As future leaders of the com- pany, they can look at these problems and connect to the solution. And really, not just the problem, but how the company operates overall to resolve a problem. If you look at the engagement of the people who have been a part of PECO Innova- tion Labs, they have continued to develop themselves as part of the leadership of the company. That has been one of the many ancillary benefits that we didn't count on when we put this program together. Solv- ing the issue we proposed to the group is not always its biggest innovation and not always the biggest benefit to the company. SCB: What long term benefits do you see as a result of adding these programs? Edison: We realize that the growth and the opportunity for associates within the company are a direct result of the engage- ment of the people who work here. We have many people who stay at the com- pany for a very long time. You get that by creating a culture where people thrive and are engaged. It is not for everybody. Like every company, there are things we do that people like and people don't like. Those who are here like the culture; they self-select to the culture. We know that our culture is what has driven our success. We have doubled the size of the company every three years for the past 25 years; that hasn't been done by two or three people. It has been done by 300-plus associates who work hard here everyday and enable us to reach our goals. SCB

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