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IoD London Property Innovation Webinar
Region Event

IoD London: Property - Innovation for the New Normal

04 Aug 2020
Online webinar, Online

The Chair of IoD City of London, Alderman Alastair King, invites all IoD members, their guests and non-members to a Property Group online panel discussion and virtual networking looking at the sector’s innovative response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Property and construction contribute around 13% to the UK’s GDP, and a similar share in most countries, making it a major global industry.

Like many sectors, property and construction are going through a very challenging time right now, but there are also significant opportunities and amazing innovations that are being implemented in response to the pandemic.

Please join our expert panel and your peers for an online discussion and Q&A, followed by virtual speed networking, to explore some of the following questions:

  • What innovations and practical solutions are being developed and implemented in response to C19?
  • Which property classes will see little or no change, and which will be completely transformed?
  • How might these changes affect how we value property, both personally and financially?
  • What trends will we see accelerate in the sector coming out of this crisis?


Please join us for networking after the webinar, beginning at 6pm. Details, and how to join, will be shared during the webinar

Key details

Date & time: 04 Aug 2020 17:00 - 18:00
Location: Online webinar, Online
CPD Hours:

Prices from

No Charge.

Event manager:
Mrs Jennifer Farley
Contact phone:



Neil Pennell, IoD event speakerNeil Pennell, Head of Design, Innovations and Property Solutions at Landsec

Neil is responsible for the creation of a clear and compelling vision for the Company’s long-term strategy with respect to the design and development of innovative, environmentally sustainable and technically excellent buildings.

He is charged with providing strategic advice to the business on sustainable building design, smart building technology and innovative procurement and construction processes to ensure Landsec retains its leadership position in the real estate sector. This involves a wide remit to drive innovation and the application of technology including; Internet of Things, low and zero carbon energy technologies, AI, advanced building analytics, BIM, DfMA, modern methods of construction, smart building technologies and Prop Tech solutions.

As a leading member of the Development team he is charged with embedding a culture of innovation in the business to access new and profitable business opportunities by promoting the use of research, data analytics and information technology to inform investment decisions and develop property services and solutions that create great experiences for our customers.

Neil is an advocate of sustainable buildings, renewable energy technologies and intelligent building design. His goal is to create amazing buildings for people; to live, work, shop and enjoy their leisure time.

Neil sits on the Board of the British Council for Offices (BCO) and chairs the Technical Affairs Committee which is responsible for producing the BCO’s industry leading technical publications. He is also chair of the CDDB’s Building Clients Group, a director of the Better Buildings Partnership and a member of WiredScore Connectivity Advisory Committee.


Vanessa Hale, IoD event speakerVanessa Hale, Head of Insights and Residential Research at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK

Vanessa has nearly 20 years of diverse experience in global strategic research. This includes over a decade specifically focused in the property sector. She has worked across the UK and the USA on multiple sectors of the real estate industry including: alternatives (private rented sector (PRS)/build to rent (BTR), senior living, hotels, healthcare), industrial, mixed-use assets, offices, retail and residential (new and existing homes).

Specialising as a cross-sector, built environment expert, she uses sharp thinking and her big picture understanding to execute strategic projects. Described as an articulate, creative individual with a commercial sensibility, she thrives on collaboration. Her cross-disciplinary approach and gravitas with stakeholders, clients and senior executives allows her to form a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the short, medium and long term. By being a strong voice and lateral thinker, Vanessa is able to translate strategy and research into innovative, action points and deliverables which ensures that her internal and external clients can plan tactically for the future.

Prior to BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, working at CBRE in the USA, Vanessa undertook bespoke project work for key commercial clients such as: Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Wells Fargo. Her analysis has included optimising occupier portfolios, understanding future tenant demand, and assessing workplace strategies. Additionally, she led the research team in reporting market data covering over 250 million square feet of Chicago office space.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois and a Master of Science degree from Roosevelt University. Vanessa is the Chair for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) UK, a board member of the Property Industry Alliance and is a member of the Society of Property Researchers.

Paul Whiston, IoD event speakerPaul Whiston, Founder/MD of Whiston Solutions

Paul is a highly-experienced leader and respected figure within the Corporate Real Estate industry, an accomplished career which began as the City of London switched to electronic trading systems.

Paul continues to be at the forefront of emerging technology and real estate integration with unrivalled expertise gained from working as a contractor, consultant, client-side and business owner, a solid foundation built on a technical qualification in multi-disciplinary building services engineering, gained through an indentured design apprenticeship.

Paul has held extremely high-profile technical and management roles throughout his career, including Vice President of Corporate Real Estate Services with Barclays Capital.

Paul is a member of the Institute of Directors City of London Property Group, has previously been responsible for the Digital Leaders regional programme which helps strengthen and empower the regional community in driving digital transformation and digital inclusion. He also spent many years on the Constructing Excellence committee.

In 2007, Paul founded Whiston Solutions: a leading provider of engineering design and consulting. The company has transitioned from pure engineering services into an independent client advisor business, using their technical knowledge and expertise to present a unique property service offering, which overview and seamlessly integrate across the traditional silos of Architecture, Engineering and Technology incorporating Digital Transformation strategies.

Darren Comber, IoD event speakerDarren Comber, Chief Executive at Scott Brownrigg

Darren has been with architectural practice Scott Brownrigg for over 20 years. He was the youngest person to be elected to the Board in the practice’s 110-year history and has served as CEO since 2010. For the past two years he has also assumed the additional role of Chairman. With Strategic Board responsibility for the quality of design across the practice, Darren has been at the forefront of many of the practice’s high-profile major projects within the UK and internationally.

Darren completed his architectural studies at The Bartlett, University College London and since joining Scott Brownrigg he has instigated a fresh enthusiasm for contemporary architecture, high standards of design and always seeks to explore the implementation of innovative ideas for the built environment.

Sustainability at all levels is a key focus for Darren. Chairing the unit on sustainability at the British Council for Offices conference in Paris in 2005 when sustainability was not ingrained on the world agenda, Darren has gone on to lead many of the practice's high profile sustainable and award-winning schemes. These have included Red Kite House (the Environment Agency HQ) which is now being re-evaluated by Scott Brownrigg to determine how it can be adapted to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. Darren has also judged the Sustainability Achievement category at the Property Week Awards for the past five years.

Darren is currently responsible for instigating the Practice’s response to Covid-19 and has recently contributed to a number of publications on the subject, including The Guardian Newspaper (read the article here), along with interviews for Sky News and ITV.



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