How six emerging topics are transforming the FM industry, from IFMA

IFMA’s "Evolution is Never Finished" white paper explores the implications of six high-impact issues, trends and drivers accelerating the evolution of facility management

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) recently announced the release of its latest white paper, “Evolution is Never Finished: Insights From IFMA’s Emerging Topics Working Group on How Six Key Topics are Transforming the FM Industry.”

IFMA's Emerging Topics Working Group white paper

Available for download in IFMA’s Knowledge Library, the report focuses on six dominant issues, trends and drivers shaping the profession of facility management (FM):

  1. PropTech
  2. AI / Generative AI
  3. Contending with Climate Change
  4. Circular Economy
  5. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Reporting
  6. Workplace Wellness and Well-being

The white paper is designed to stimulate thought and discussion on FM’s role in preparing for and responding to complex built environment challenges.

Generally understood to refer to new, fast-growing patterns, technologies or behavioral shifts that could potentially and significantly influence an industry, discipline or broader societal landscape, emerging topics are often identified through data analysis or expert opinion and are subject to continual reevaluation as conditions change.

IFMA established its Emerging Topics Working Group in 2022 to identify and explore the implications of high-impact emerging topics, and to engage FM professionals in developing practices to address them. Twenty-three industry experts and seven members of the association’s professional staff, including IFMA President and CEO Don Gilpin, were led by the Chair of IFMA’s Global Board of Directors Dean Stanberry, CFM, SFP.

The working group considered the rise of smart building technologies, elevated focus on occupant safety and engagement, heightened awareness of buildings’ massive environmental footprints and increasing directives to meet ambitious net zero goals to present their findings.

Stanberry remarked:

The convergence of external influences such as climate change, the rapid diffusion and uptake of digital technologies, and post-pandemic societal shifts is expanding FM knowledge, skill and experience requirements. These factors have accelerated the industry’s evolution from traditional back-of-house operations and maintenance to a new data-driven, people-centric, climate- and resource-aware era of FM. IFMA plays a crucial role in helping FMs navigate uncharted territory, delivering information and education to the FM community.

Moving forward, the process for ongoing analysis and reporting of emerging industry topics will be institutionalized within the association. “Evolution is Never Finished” is the first in a series of resources that IFMA will share globally with the FM community. Through its education programs, strategic partnerships, conferences, webinars, podcasts, articles and posts, IFMA will provide insight into emerging practices and new consensus on industry-wide good and best practices.

Download “Evolution is Never Finished” from IFMA. With space for notes and questions for reflection, IFMA encourages readers to consider how each emerging topic could impact their careers and FM organizations.