Luminas RTF Case Story

Summary

Research Triangle Park (RTP) is strategically located in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina at the center of three Tier-1 research universities – widely known as the largest research park in the United States and revered around the globe as a hub for innovation. It’s home to hundreds of companies – large and small, from science and technology firms, government agencies and startups to academic institutions and nonprofits. In the heart of RTP is the Frontier, a campus that offers office spaces for a variety of companies and organizations, meeting spaces, as well as educational opportunities and networking events for growing businesses and the diverse community.

Supporting this flourishing community is the Research Triangle Foundation (RTF).  RTF, recognized as the “steward” of the Park – including the Frontier – takes seriously its role in creating a thriving business environment, promoting economic development and facilitating strategic partnerships that benefit the broader North Carolina community. For more than 60 years, RTF’s mission has been to accomplish three things:

  • Facilitate collaboration between the Triangle universities
  • Promote cooperation between universities and industry
  • Create an economic impact for citizens of North Carolina

The leadership of RTF engaged Luminas to facilitate an evaluation of how effectively they were meeting the expectations and needs of their primary stakeholders – businesses located at the Frontier.

Specifically, their objectives were to:

  • Discover the differential value that RTF creates for tenants compared to other leasing options
  • Identify opportunities to increase the value provided to tenants
  • Gather learnings that will help to develop a committed customer service approach in its operations
  • Improve how RTF staff engages with tenants, and works internally as a team

The engagement provided RTF with clarity and insights into the stakeholder’s perspective on:

  • the value they receive from the Frontier campus location,
  • services and programming provided at the Frontier,
  • how the Frontier compares to other office leasing options, and
  • what actions the Foundation could take to create or enhance benefits for its business tenants in the future.

Check out our conversation with Scott Levitan, President and CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation

To focus the Luminas Stakeholder Value Xcelerator (SVX™️) engagement and gain insight that could be applied broadly to businesses located on the campus, RTF identified four different stakeholder groups, including: small-to-midsize tenants; single small and multi-office tenants; single occupants; and, lab space tenants.

Understand & Measure

To help RTF gain an internal consensus of its most valuable stakeholder solutions, the Luminas team conducted sessions with cross-functional members of the RTF team. This process produced an informed internal perspective of the differential value RTF believed it was delivering to each of the tenant groups.

Comparing RTF’s Frontier campus tenant services to the stakeholder-provided next best alternatives, the internal team’s perspective was that RTF delivers differential value in the following areas:

  • facilities maintenance,
  • on-campus social events,
  • property amenities,
  • opportunities to foster relationship with potential business partners,
  • digital marketing,
  • event spaces and

Validate

With the internal perspective complete, Luminas conducted stakeholder validation interviews with more than a dozen tenants on the campus who represented each of the four office types. The outcomes revealed that while most of the tenants confirmed many of the same contributors of value, the greatest contributors of value were different than the RTF team expected. Tenants also identified additional sources of value that RTF had not previously indicated. See two validation examples in Figure 1.

RTF gained valuable insights from the validation exercise – illuminating the services that stakeholders recognized as delivering the most differential value versus other properties. In the case of both small-to-mid-size tenants and single occupant tenants, the location of the Frontier was found to be a key differentiator  ̶  an attribute that was not originally included by the RTF staff. Similar feedback, with regard to location, was also received from Lab Space tenants. Lab Space tenants also placed great value in the turnkey suites available at the Frontier. See the findings in Figure 2, below.

Upon review of all tenant feedback, RTF found that the value delivered from facilities maintenance, was less than its internal team estimated. This signaled an area where adjustments might lead to additional value for tenants.

Improve

Next, Luminas compared the RTF internal perspective of the differential value proposition it provides to its Frontier Campus tenants with the validated tenant feedback. This review helped to pinpoint key tenant observations that present opportunities to increase mutual benefit in the future.

Tenants recommended that RTF consider a list of future opportunities that could contribute to the delivery of greater value:

  • Continue on-campus events, but seek opportunities to increase their value
  • Create other vehicles for social interaction among tenants
  • Perform an assessment of tenants’ maintenance requests and review the staff’s ability to resolve requests
  • Improve ongoing communication and status updates with tenants regarding maintenance requests and facility improvements
  • Perform a walk-through with tenants, identifying items that need resolution
  • Reinforce and promote the value of the Frontier’s location
  • Improve the communication of existing digital marketing efforts and enhance collaboration with tenants on future digital marketing initiatives

“The RTF staff was not unanimously in favor of engaging with Luminas in this work,” said Scott Levitan, President and CEO, Research Triangle Foundation.  “However, through the process, we brought everyone on board and the outcome was embraced and valued by 100% of the organization.”

Results and Recommendations

Based on the findings and observations from SVX, Luminas provided RTF with a tailored set of considerations that will help to drive increased value for each of the tenant groups.

As a result of the SVX observations, RTF gained internal alignment on the following priorities to better serve tenants going forward:

By engaging with Luminas and  receiving feedback from tenants, RTF acquired a roadmap on how to engage with tenants. This road map helped them to understand how to cater their service offerings and amenities to tenants at the Frontier based on their classification and similarities.

Through the work with Luminas, the foundation gained increased understanding of its differential value — such as the Frontier’s location and social experiences provided to tenants — that they could better leverage in the future to attract new tenants and increase renewals of existing leases.  Lastly, through the SVX engagement the RTF team was able to increase internal collaboration and gain alignment on ways to better empower and engage employees to deliver the differential value tenants expect.

Validated stakeholder insights help organizations to establish strategic priorities and make more confident decisions that can result in capturing stakeholder differential value. Luminas leveraged the input from RTF’s stakeholders to help the Foundation recognize the benefits of collaboration and the positive impact of taking an outside-in approach to their tenant relationships.

SVX® supports the development of growth strategies and plans for key target stakeholder groups, market segments and new offerings—providing the following specific actions based on validated stakeholder insights and competitive intelligence captured through the process.

Continue  Keep doing what’s delivering differential value today.

Fix Adjust the offerings that are eroding stakeholder value today.

Enhance Make improvements that can deliver even more differential value.

Expedite Introduce current offerings that provide immediate impact to the stakeholder.

Create  Develop and implement the highest priority and mutually profitable new offerings

Get Started

Your organization can begin improving its winning score with stakeholders by taking the following steps:

  • Develop the key strategic priorities to shape the organization’s organic growth.
  • Identify the priority major stakeholders, market segments or new products/services that are most critical to your organization’s organic growth.
  • Select a target group of stakeholders to engage in an initial introduction of SVX®.
  • Select a cross-functional internal team and begin developing your perspective on the differential value provided for the selected stakeholders—we’re here to help.

“Luminas has had a definite impact on the way our sales team thinks about how to sell value. We wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t gone through the process with them and gained such meaningful insights.”

Heather Singler, Global Commercial Director, Eastman

“The whole team was engaged in the work with Luminas, it was impressive. As a result, we discovered areas where we can grow, become more nimble and think strategically about our business. We are now better prepared to partner with our customers and manage through big changes.

Jeff Morris, Senior Vice President, Protective Fabrics, Milliken & Company

“Our customers were very appreciative that we took the time to ask the right questions about what is important to their business. Luminas helped us to create a more customer centric organization and to focus on what they value.”

Steve Yager, Vice President, Customer Experience, Cisco

“We saw the Luminas team as our partners, they were humble and cared about our business. Our customers found immense value in having conversations with us; the process showed our customers that we were interested in their feedback and wanted to hear their insights.”

Charles Crowell, Director, Corporate Strategy, Milliken & Company

“SVX helped us to focus on what matters most to our tenants. We gained specific insights that we could respond to and as a result, we created a roadmap for how we could do our job better and increase satisfaction among the people who are paying our bills.”

Scott Levitan, President and CEO, Research Triangle Foundation