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Roger DeWames, Irvine Company Office Division Executive Vice President, on thinking like an ethnographer and using the scientific method to drive success for customers.

How do you design a workplace for tomorrow’s workforce?

Start with data, not assumptions.

Roger DeWames, division executive vice president, shares how Irvine Company is building smart spaces that work for companies today and tomorrow.

What inspires you?

Placemaking — creating something new that fits within a community’s existing fabric — is incredibly inspiring. We get to take a piece of raw land or an existing property, imagine new possibilities and bring this vision to life in a way that enhances lives and drives business success.

“We’re creating at a scale and level of quality that no other developer can replicate. We’re building with purpose and intentionality, creating spaces that evolve over time. We’re building the backdrop to people’s lives.”

How do you solve problems?

My preferred framework for decision-making is the scientific method, starting with a hypothesis, then moving through experimentation, measurement and refinement. Each workplace presents opportunities to experiment and then refine through reinvestment. People don’t always use a space the way you imagine, so it’s important to create spaces that can adapt as needs evolve.

What’s the most important consideration when developing a workplace community?

To be a great developer, you need to think like an ethnographer. Design decisions should be based on careful study of human behavior and space evolution.

What’s the single biggest element companies overlook in assessing the full value of a workplace?

Some companies don’t consider a landlord’s long-term commitment and financial strength and how it will impact workplace quality over the life of their lease. We’re very proud of the stability, consistency and partnership Irvine Company offers its customers.

What is one hypothesis you are exploring around the Future of Work?

The last few years showed us that in-person connections continue to be a critical driver for innovation and business success. Now we’re exploring how our workplaces can best foster these connections, whether teams are together monthly, weekly or daily.

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