The Future of Housing … with Certainty
Adapt or be left behind.
According to one expert, we’re living in an unprecedented age of acceleration defined by two key realities. First, “if it can be done, it will be done,” and second, “if you don’t do it, someone else will.” Let me interpret. Any market-ready innovation that can cost-effectively improve user experience (UX) is a sure thing, and if you ignore this opportunity, it is also a sure thing that someone else will not … eventually.
Another more common way of framing this reality is “adapt or be left behind.” And the data bears this out. Two separate studies show companies that leverage innovations to optimize UX dominate their respective industries. Specifically, UX leaders compared to laggards provide three times greater financial return to investors, and are three times more resilient during recessionary periods with shallower troughs and quicker recovery.
Yet, decades of personal experience and industry data suggest housing is a huge innovation lagger. I’m not talking about incremental innovation; there’s plenty of that. I’m talking about transformational innovation. Like personal transportation disrupting overnight from the horse and buggy to the internal combustion engine automobile at the turn of the 20th Century and once again a hundred years later from the internal combustion engine to the electric car. Or personal communication in recent decades disrupting from landline phones to cell phones and then to smart phones.
To understand the massive fallout that happens with transformative innovation, consider there are 50 odd technologies made obsolete by smart phones. That’s the kind of innovation I’m talking about; the kind that virtually every other industry has experienced.
Now it’s housing’s turn. And I’ll boldly predict “What” this disruptive home of the future looks like with certainty. Very simply, it will track the latest disruption in the car industry to faster, better, and cheaper electric vehicles. This includes:
- Replacing Obsolete 100-Plus-Year-Old Platforms. Where the electric car replaces the 100-year-old internal combustion engine with battery-powered electric motors, housing will similarly transition from 100-year-old fossil fuel equipment to all-electric homes and replace 150-year-old framing with advanced offsite enclosures. This is certain because these new platforms provide the foundation for compelling faster, better, and cheaper performance.
- Leveraging Advanced Technology. All-electric cars (EV’s) fully integrate advanced technology including controls, cameras, sensors, and batteries all linked to smart phone app controls. Similarly, all-electric homes will include these same advanced technologies integrated with onsite or offsite renewable energy. What I call Zero Electric Homes (ZEH’s). This is certain because the resulting performance benefits are too compelling to ignore, including freedom from costly energy bills along with a whole new level of comfort, convenience, safety, health, resilience, durability, and entertainment.
- Ensure a Superior UX. Where EV’s provides a transformative UX relative to design, performance, and quality, the housing industry will follow suit with in new ZEH’s. In addition, location is uniquely critical to housing which therefore must also optimize the community experience. This is certain because exponentially more informed buyers will choose these homes that live, work, and last better.
- Curate Expert Packages. EVs feature expertly curated exterior and interior building blocks across multiple product lines that dramatically lower total cost of ownership. The housing industry will follow suit with mass-customized solutions for mainstream homebuyers (there will always be a market for custom homes). This is certain because it results in ample consumer choice significantly reducing cost, stress, and complexity in product configuration.
- Own the Customer for Life. Where the electric car includes simple and paperless transactions along with ongoing online services for desired upgrades, so will the housing industry. This is certain because it ensures companies own their customer for life with services that continually improve the UX, cultivate a value-based relationship, and provide ongoing revenue streams.
I predict this certain future is imminent because all of this innovation is market ready to deliver high-performance homes that live better and cost less. However, I’m not delusional and recognize many challenges lie ahead. How we get there is the subject of my new book entitled, “Housing 2.0: A Disruption Survival Guide.”
Please join me for a full-day workshop based on this book at the EEBA High-Performance Home Builder Summit in Salt Lake City on October 9, one day before the EEBA conference begins. The unique guidance at the core of this program is an extensively vetted framework for adapting to disruptive changes looming ahead for housing rather than being left behind.
My personal goal is to help ensure high-performance builders get in front of this innovation so they can become industry leaders. If it can be done; it will be done. If you don’t do it, someone else will.