2017 Alliance Innovation Summit Recap

The annual Innovation Summit, hosted this year in Denver, produced a wealth of content for Alliance members and sponsors. Here’s a glimpse of what was presented and discussed during the two-day event.

Future Home + Homebuilding Business

Our Alliance Chairman and Vice Chair, George Casey of Stockbridge Associates and Michael Dickens of IBACOS, opened things up with their, big-picture take on what the future home and homebuilding business will look like and invited participants to share their thoughts on product and process innovation, labor and construction practices, and emerging business models through lively table-based discussions.

Evolving American Households

Next, three experts shared perspectives on how the market, consumer needs and expectations are evolving and how builders should respond. Mollie Carmichael introduced John Burns’ new way of segmenting and analyzing market demographics and trends by decade born and life stages versus generations. Nick Lehnert of KTGY stressed the need for a broader portfolio of housing solutions and demonstrated how the decade model could be applied to planning and designing a multitude of options on a simple 60’x70’ lot. Finally, Kathy Cecilian of Cecilian Worldwide revealed what consumers really think and suggested builders give customer relationship defects the same attention they pay to construction defects.

Comfort + Health: Housing’s Next Performance Driver

Following a real-world recap of what it takes to deliver a certified healthy home from Dennis Webb of Fulton Homes, and an overview of the issues driving the need and consumer demand for better indoor environmental quality in housing from the Alliance’s Rich Binsacca, attendees broke into small groups to discuss the value and challenges of delivering healthy homes, how to market them to consumers, risks and liability concerns, and the impact on their trade partners and supplier relationships.

The Internet of Things + The Connected Home

Attendees were treated to a spirited and eye-opening presentation by Michael Voll of Frog, a broadband provider to technology-integrated master-plan communities including Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida and Walsh in Ft. Worth, Texas, as well as a sense-check and roadmap of the builder’s role in the Connected Home space from the Alliance’s Rich Binsacca based on his analysis of the current market. Attendees then discussed their experiences with consumer demand for “smart home” functionality, whether builders should expand into the “after-market” of connected devices, and the challenges, opportunities and risks of providing smart home systems.

The New Business of Building

How do you anticipate and respond to changes in the market? Presenters Mark Wolf of AHV Communities, Ned Moore of Clutch and David Brown of Metrostudy provided insight into new and improved business models that capitalize on untapped opportunities for revenue and profit, leverage data for key decisions and greater efficiency, and unearth the power of deeper customer engagement.

Smart Quality Management

We continued our look at the Cost of Quality by sharing smart strategies – both online and offline – for operating more efficiently, improving customer and partner relationships, and delivering better homes. Chris Clare showcased the custom digital system that allows DSLD Homes to ensure quality in the field, identify and resolve issues, provide effective training, and better manage trade and vendor relationships. Scot Clark and Tim Beckman discussed Edward Andrews Homes’ journey evolving from a 2D to 3D BIM-based system, including the process, costs and impacts on pre-sales, the buying experience, budgeting and construction cycle times. Scott Sedam of TrueNorth Development wrapped things up and created a nice bridge to the next session by sharing what builders can do today to become a builder of choice and alleviate skilled labor issues within their business. 

The Elephant in the Room: Housing’s New Reality

Got labor problems? Quality issues? Cycle time slippage? Whatever your production problems are, they probably relate back to the housing industry’s current (and chronic) shortage of skilled construction labor, rising materials costs, and quality control. Led by industry sage George Casey (based on his popular series of “Elephant in the Room” blogs), this session presented a provocative new vision to replace old-school building with offsite solutions, including modular, engineered panelization and robotics from those in the thick of this new reality, namely Mark Rylant, Gerry MCCaughey, and Chris Raddell, respectively. Small-group discussions focused on how to bridge the gap between now and the near-future, as well as practical and effective labor and quality management tactics.

Get More! If you’re member or sponsor of the Alliance, go to our online portal to access all the 2017 Summit presentations, additional content, and on-going discussions. To learn more about membership or sponsorship in the Alliance, click here.