Foresight visit: An international two-week exchange program for Skanska Commercial Development colleagues

Recently, six of our Skanska Commercial Development (CD) colleagues traveled to a different country to participate in a two-week learning and development program: “Foresight visit.” In joining a different CD business unit for a short period, they gained a deeper understanding of different markets and team operations, worked alongside local teams, visited current projects and learned about different cultures.

Foresight visit is open to employees in Skanska USA Commercial Development (CDUS), Commercial Development Nordics (CDN) and Commercial Development Europe (CDE).

Meet our Skanska colleagues who recently embarked on this journey and read about their main takeaways.

Fei Ye, senior development manager at CDUS, recently returned from her Foresight visit to CDN.

Fei, who works out of our Los Angeles office, visited our CDN teams in Gothenburg, Sweden and Oslo, Norway as a part of her Foresight visit. Reflecting on the time spent with her CD colleagues across the pond, Fei notes being most inspired by her colleagues’ commitment to sustainability and innovation.

“I was also energized hearing different project teams talk about the new technology they’re exploring for their projects,” she says.

In terms of similarities and differences between the Skanska culture she is used to, and our company culture overseas, Fei found more commonalities than differences.

“Overall, I realize that many of us are facing the same challenges and dealing with the same issues,” says Fei. “We also have a culture of inclusivity, openness and respect in common.”

During her Nordic trip, Fei witnessed the strength of Skanska’s values in action. “I finished the program with a deeper understanding of the Skanska values,” she says. “By hearing career stories from my CDN colleagues, touring different Skanska projects and experiencing the Nordic culture, I came to further understand how deep our values are ingrained in our day-to-day company culture.”

1 / 3 Taking in views of Gothenburg from the 32nd floor of our Citygate project.
2 / 3 Visiting one of the ongoing logistic developments at Transportgatan in Gothenburg.
3 / 3 While in Oslo, Fei had the opportunity to meet with the cross-business unit team for project managers in Skanska Commercial Development Nordics. “This meeting is a really great concept for knowledge sharing across different markets to spark inspiration and creativity,” says Fei.

For his Foresight visit, Daniel, from our Copenhagen office, spent time in Warsaw and Prague. He finished the program with a plethora of learnings and points of inspiration to take back to Denmark.

From noticing differences in default construction methods, to witnessing energy efficiencies at play throughout CDN’s portfolio, Daniel’s takeaways from the experience run the gamut.

“One interesting learning was hearing about how CDE and Skanska construction work together on making optimizations to projects in terms of costs,” he says.

During his time, Daniel visited our Generation Park, Port7, P180 and Visionary projects. These tours gave him insight into how our teams are developing projects with tenant priorities at the center.

“It was inspiring to see the strength of the Skanska culture in the CDE markets,” adds Daniel. “Diversity and inclusion is very much a key focus for our Poland teams. Skanska being brave in choosing to take an active stance on diversity and inclusion in Poland is a very good example of how the culture is built and how our company is actively participating in building a better society.”

1 / 3 During his time in Prague, Daniel visited our Visionary project. The building’s rooftop contains a running track that gives tenants the opportunity to run with a view on a surface that is more comfortable than city streets, which in Prague are traditionally cobblestone mosaic.
2 / 3 A pre-fit-out floor at our P180 project in Warsaw shows how the combination of a wide floorplate and large windows create an efficient yet well-lit office space. “The deeper floorplate is more cost-efficient, and more resilient toward overheating,” says Daniel.
3 / 3 Daniel visited our Generation Park project in Warsaw.

Monika, who visited our Houston and Washington, D.C., offices during her Foresight visit, approached the experience with an eagerness to dive deeper into LEED certification and discover interesting solutions to take back home.

“I was interested in how [LEED] certification is approached in the States, where it originated, and how the various requirements are interpreted and fulfilled, whether we understand them in the same way,” says Monika. “All the requirements are much clearer to me now, as I know the whole context in which they were created. I have discovered new ideas of fulfilling some of the certification requirements that we in Europe simply overvalued.”

“I also wanted to be inspired by the buildings of our colleagues, see interesting solutions that we could steal with pride and thus differentiate the Skanska brand in the European market,” adds Monika.

Several new innovations being implemented across our Houston and D.C. markets especially piqued Monika’s interest. “In Houston, I saw a district cooling system being used, something I’ve only read about. It was a totally new experience for me.”

In D.C., our Heming project stood out. “I gained a lot of new inspiration for residential buildings from Heming. You feel like you're in a luxury resort on a dream holiday, as there is a swimming pool, gym, barbecue and even community dog wash area at your disposal,” says Monika.

1 / 3 In Washington, D.C., Monika toured several Skanska projects including OZMA, Heming and 2112 Penn.
2 / 3 Monika shares dinner with Skanska team members in Houston, Texas, as a part of her Foresight visit within the U.S.
3 / 3 “I was inspired by the vegetable garden located on the roof of our 2112 Penn building in Washington, D.C., and I love that the whole concept includes distributing vegetables to tenants in the main building lobby,” says Monika. Our 2112 Penn on Pennsylvania Avenue is the first WELL Health-Safety Rated office building in D.C.

Michael traveled to our Prague, Warsaw, and Budapest offices for two weeks to learn more about our CDE market and apply any new ideas to our development projects in Boston.

“It’s inspiring to see firsthand the global perspective of our company. There is a tremendous opportunity for further knowledge sharing between our CD organizations. In just a few weeks, I met with many teams and learned more about CDE’s approach to a wide range of focus areas—including acquisitions, divestment, leasing, project management, HR, marketing and communications,” says Michael.

While our Boston and CDE teams work in different areas of the world, Michael noticed some similarities to how they operate.

“Despite the geographic difference, our teams share the same passion for our projects and our customers, and also share many of the same struggles,” he adds. “There are so many concepts that I brought back to CDUS, and I know there is even more knowledge out there to gain.”

1 / 4 Michael spent time at CDE’s Warsaw office for our Spark project.
2 / 4 Michael visited the hospitality-oriented lobby at P180 in Warsaw, Poland.
3 / 4 An orange piano is one of the highlights of the lobby at our Praga Studios project.
4 / 4 Our tenants can exercise on the roof of the H20 office project in Budapest, Hungary.

Johanna who works out of our Gothenburg, Sweden office, visited our CDUS team in Seattle, Washington for two weeks. After spending time in a new place, she believes it’s beneficial to question the way we develop, build and investigate others’ solutions to see more alternatives.

“At Skanska, our teams face the same challenges but approach them in different ways, and we could learn a lot from reaching out more to each other,” says Johanna.

One of her main takeaways after participating in this program is that both her CDN team and our CDUS team in Seattle are very similar.

“Though there are some differences in how we’re organized and how we build—including customer demands related to our different markets—I could really feel that we work for the same company with the same values,” she adds.

1 / 3 Johanna visited our Kaye project during her time in Seattle.
2 / 3 A photo from a Saturday morning hike in the area that Johanna took during her visit.
3 / 3 The view from the top floor of The Eight in Bellevue, Washington.

Adam visited our CDN team in Stockholm, Sweden, where he expanded his knowledge of sustainability and innovation and learned how ideas are implemented differently among our CDN team.

When asked what his biggest takeaway was from the program, Adam said it was hard to pick just one thing.

“I really liked the idea of innovations starting on a small scale and growing from there. As a result, many diverse ideas are put into practice organically.”

According to Adam, the program itself was very inspiring.

"It was great to see such successful and ambitious projects in Sweden and meet a team of committed people who are driven towards a common goal that they all believe in.”

1 / 4 While working in the field, Adam said, “the most important thing is to share experience inclusively, highlighting the challenges and opportunities we have or had, and let the other party observe.
2 / 4 Skanska employees at a safety visit in Stockholm.
3 / 4 Adam visited our Sthlm New project in Sweden.
4 / 4 Adam presented his feedback and reflections with the team in Stockholm and Malmö.