Lessons in Disruption and Innovation

Who’s ready for the world of Proptech?
Who do you talk to if you want to find out about Proptech?
Housing providers? Contractors? Suppliers? Asset specialists? Well, you’d probably expect to get a reasonable idea from any of these.

So, when Ian Wright and I opened the NHMF 2022 conference with an interactive, thought-provoking session on disruption and innovation to 300+ of these very people what do you think their answer was when we asked…

‘What is PropTech?’
Maybe any technology that solves any problem for properties?
Or Technology that lets the landlord and resident know more about their homes?
What about Technology that creates efficiencies in business operations?
Or is it Technology specifically designed to solve a particular property problem e.g., net zero, emissions, compliance? Of course, the answer is all of these 

Now, this wasn’t a scientific study, more of a snapshot from a decent cross-section of the sector, a bit of an insight into the collective mindset on innovation and the use of Proptech

Ok, here’s an easier question…Does your organisation have a Proptech Strategy? Not sure? Well, of the 300+ people at the session this was how the show of hands went

“Yes, we definitely do have a Proptech strategy” 2 people, (possibly from the same organisation) the first people in the sector Ian and I have ever seen confidently give this answer in all the times we’ve asked this question!

“No, we definitely don’t have a Proptech strategy” around 20 people, were certain there was no plan for how to integrate smart tech solutions into their operation.

“Err…well…mmm…maybe? …possibly…actually who knows?” the remaining approximately 90% of the audience!

So, what we’re saying is, basically, if there are any Proptech strategies out there they’re well enough hidden that the folks that should know about them don’t!

“We don’t need yet another strategy, we can just do Proptech stuff”, said no one, but that’s what we see from the haphazard approach most organisations are taking. Without a strategy we see more random IoT being installed without a clear understanding of why – what problem is it solving (are we solving it or moving it along the bus for someone else?), where the data will be stored, who can access it (GDPR alarm bells anyone?), how will it be evaluated and how will these be scaled (or not, if it’s not the best fit for the organisation as a whole?).

Right, a really easy one now… “Who should be take the lead for Proptech in your organisation?” The audience were much more confident in this answer.
Overwhelmingly the view is that it should sit with Asset. Which is fantastic news… for everyone except the 99% of the Asset colleagues in the room that don’t have a Proptech strategy (cue the collective worried/vacant expressions).

Fear not Housing Providers and Contractors Proptech Innovation Network (PIN) exists to ensure it’s members can navigate safely through, in the best possible way, to tackle the issues faced by the sector today (did we mention net zero?). PIN is the Digital Partner for NHMF and support the education and future of repairs and maintenance in the sector.

PIN is a membership network dedicated to bringing the best in Proptech and Contech (technology in construction) to the social housing sector. We combine both in the network, it’s vital that Development, Asset, Compliance and Repairs and Maintenance colleagues look to solve problems together, rather than unintentionally creating problems for each other. PIN partners with the UK Government Department of Levelling up, Homes and Communities and are Digital Partners to both the NHMF and Direct Works.
We offer Masterclasses in Proptech, Writing a Proptech Strategy, along with lots of practical events and opportunities where you can see the latest in tech, experiment with tech in our DINLabs,
Thought Leadership and Experiential Learning in the UK and around the world. We’d love to welcome you…. And get more ‘innovate’ answers to the questions next year at the NHMF conference!

Last question, “Where does your organisation’s Proptech budget sit?” “what do you mean we need a budget for that?” MIC DROP…