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The physical locations and work practices of Hines, a global real estate company, had been severely impacted by the pandemic. This large organization, with 5000+ employees and locations in 28 countries needed to create a lasting “Future of Work” strategy.

Rather than imposing “return to work” requirements as the pandemic waned, leadership elected to leverage SALT Collaboratory’s Design Thinking expertise to co-create a solution that balanced the needs of its people with the future aspirations of the business. This innovative approach could then serve as a blueprint for clients who were grappling with similar concerns.


SALT Collaboratory worked closely with the client team to design an engaging series of virtual workshops in the MURAL digital collaboration platforms, covering the Understand and Create phases of the Design Thinking framework.

The project focused on 6 cohorts of 20 participants each from select operational and regional functions. In Workshop 1, the Design Thinking methods selected surfaced the needs and considerations of employees across factors such as work/life balance, career development and team connections. Participants were also given the opportunity to prioritize solution elements across people, real estate and technology.  In Workshop 2, participants worked in break-out groups to ideate on possible solutions. They then developed solution concepts for presentation to leadership.


The seamless transition between select Design Thinking tools and methods such as “What’s On Your Radar,” “Creative Matrix” and “Concept Poster” contributed to a productive and engaging experience for all participants, as evidenced by their overwhelmingly positive feedback. Participants also appreciated being introduced to new and innovative methods for virtual collaboration.

Leadership had deep insight into the desires and concerns of their employees, supported by clearly articulated concepts to consider as they developed their return-to-work policies.

“Great for employees to feel like they have a voice”, “Thank you for asking our opinion”, 

“Different and new/creative way to discuss ideas”, “Good thinking framework that generates outcomes, not just endless discussion”

Workshop Participants


Creating a “Future of Work” Strategy for a Global Real Estate Organization

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