2016 Alliance Innovation Summit – Key Takeaways

We’ve got 20 pages of notes, some fantastic presentations and video from this year’s event that we’re still sifting through. Over the next few months, we’ll create bite-sized nuggets of information for you that you can share with your team and leverage in your business.

In the meantime, we thought we’d kick things off and share feedback from one of our off-the-wall discussions (see notes in process to the right). We asked everyone in the room to share their key takeaways from the event: overall impressions of the Summit and the Alliance, issues to solve, opportunities to capitalize on, etc.

Here’s what was said—live and uncensored. Again, more to come over the next few months.


  • The industry is so fragmented. This is a great platform to play together. – general consensus
  • Learned more in the last few days here than over 4 years at Harvard. Amazed at the quality of presentations and ideas being represented. – Unity Homes
  • Need to continue pursuing the Cost of Quality (as part of the Alliance agenda). Information is highly valuable. – Tim O’Brien Homes
  • These topics we’re discussing (and the Alliance Program Council areas) are pieces of the puzzle. We should overlay the topics, look for commonalities and produce accelerators Alliance members can leverage. – GE Appliances


  • Generational challenges. Maybe for-rent would be good. – DSLD Homes
  • Build-to-rent as a real opportunity in the market, and the idea that a first home might be a new rental. – GE Appliances
  • Make sure we’re leveraging tech to give more to customers. More efficient plans = less waste. – DSLD Homes
  • Got to measure total cost. Measure the value of a saved day. 5x to 10x more than you think it is. – TrueNorth Development
  • Need to get exposure with leadership. Be able to see and do things differently. – George Casey
  • Bill (Thrive Home Builders) was representative of the industry. If we can get insurance buy in (to quality management programs vs. house-by-house inspections), that’s key. – Simpson Strong-Tie
  • The more we (as builders) pursue quality management, the more insulated we will be against litigation. – KB Home
  • Lots of challenges in the industry that we need to solve. There’s no easy button. Key is to keep it simple. – Pulte Homes
  • We’re “aging in place” in our industry. Trouble finding young talent. Should look at ACE mentoring and find other models to push/adopt. – Simpson Strong-Tie
  • Going into the trades = little to no debt versus a college education. Need to define a career path to attract labor. – George Casey
  • Community needs to invest in training centers as wages for skilled trades rise—making housing (trade careers) more attractive. – Wayne Homes
  • Good thoughts on alternative building. What can we do if labor doesn’t come back—reducing/eliminating the need for labor? – EnergyLogic
  • Take trades in house? Paradigm shift of internalizing building. – George Casey
  • Good book to read – “The Second Machine Age”
  • Great opportunities with tech and how you can drive upfront using BIM versus a series of model homes. – KB Home
  • Can we connect BIM and HERS ratings to make it a more dynamic performance modeling tool? – IBACOS 
  • Tech is getting a foothold in housing in a way it hasn’t before. – Wayne Homes
  • We’re in the midst of a digital revolution that will have massive impact on housing. – Essential Design
  • Feels like the tipping point is getting close. – IBACOS
  • Innovation Opportunity – How BIM and virtual reality might play off of each other. – George Casey