Last Thursday I toddled up to London to take part in a conference entitled Next Generation Solutions: Housing Transformation, organised by HACT/Northern Housing Consortium. I followed Frances Coppola as part of the final plenary session. My talk on the day was called Social Housing 2.0. But I’m not entirely sure that captures what I said. So I’ve retitled it here. You can find the text to accompany my presentation below the fold.
It was a very interesting event, with the various presentations cohering well around the theme (I’ll exclude my presentation from that statement – that’s for others to judge!). As a bonus I got to meet both Frances and Flipchart Rick, who you’ll know, if you have followed this blog for any length of time, are bloggers who have featured in my top 10 blogs of the year every year since I started doing them.
This is a wonderful piece Alex.
The debate around the sector for the past couple years has centred around supply, rents and reforms, public and political perception and innovation (digital – more often than not). I think this does a brilliant job of drawing them all together.
I’m really taken with your thoughts around place based leadership – as this is the reality for many HAs as they wrestle with the emerging gaps at community level. Balancing this with “for scale” activities like volume building and new product development will become increasingly challenging. Very few businesses successfully manage such wildly divergent services.
The debate around digital innovation (everyone accepting we pretty much ain’t at the races yet) shows a need for a sector that is much more agile, responsive and less risk averse. The point you make about bifurcation of the sector is interesting. How many of our 1700 odd HAs really have the capacity and capability for the kind of innovation you’ve articulated? And why would they?
Whatever happens next, HAs are going to have revisit their strategy many of which were formed in very different times.
Good piece Alex, I do find people thinking that entering the PRS market is somehow innovative a little irritating, innovation is about how you do things (unless its a radical departure like New Charter buying their local daily newspaper) and moving into PRS is diversification.
Good point Paul. I agree – there are some things, like moving in to market renting, that may have constituted innovation once upon a time but now almost count as standard practice. Innovation has to be more of a departure.