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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

Become disruptive to be innovative


Speaking at two of our upcoming events, Total Housing 2020 in Brighton and Tai 2020 in Cardiff, Ian Wright, managing director of the Disruptive Innovators Network shares what he’s most looking forward to speaking about during his sessions.

If we were to ask housing professionals who they think are the most disruptive or innovative organisations, how many do you think would select a housing provider?


From my work with the sector, I see great examples everyday from housing organisations doing brilliant things in the most innovative ways which only a few years ago they would never have dreamed possible. But how many providers are currently rethinking their business models to learn from other sectors and organisations whose own survival depends on them being able to self-disrupt and innovate in a competitive environment.


I’m fortunate to work with several exceptional start-ups who are tackling some of societies biggest challenges through innovation. Check out the likes of Beam or Change Please to see what they’re doing to tackle homelessness or the community shop and their social supermarkets addressing food poverty and food waste. Even the likes of are recognising the role they can play in tackling the poverty premium through their social rent offer. And I love the way Brompton Bikes are changing the way we live in cities through their tenant bike hire.


Have you noticed I’ve not mentioned technological solutions to any of the above? That’s because if you start with the technology, then more than likely the innovation will fail to achieve its objectives. Technology has to be the last piece of the jigsaw when you are looking to implement any major change.


In fact, some of the biggest businesses I’ve been able to visit and interview, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft are those which have the most rigid and structured processes and systems, not something you’d associate with agile or innovative. But it’s this ability to know that everyday you can rely on being able to deliver your customer promises that gives the business confidence to improve. Reducing the amount of customer complaints and the resources this can take means you can invest more in exploring new ways of solving organisational problems before they impact on customers.


I’m really looking forward to speaking at Total Housing and sharing insights into some of the organisations I’ve mentioned here. In particular sharing:


• Why seven seconds is the answer to most things

• The problem of complexity

• Understanding the problem you are trying to solve

• McSpaghetti

• Why you need the best brakes if you want to innovate faster.

Ian's session at Total Housing is on 26 March, and he's speaking at TAI on 29 April. For more details and to book these and other CIH events, check out our website.




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