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The 'innovation community' of SFHA

Our Scottish member invests in an Innovation and Futures Thinking programme

Glasgow, 8 January 2019 | Social

The Scottish Federation of Housing Association’s Innovation and Future Thinking Programme is bringing their members and other stakeholders together to collaboratively develop new ideas and solutions for the future.


By Lorna Wilson, SFHA Innovation and Future Thinking Lead

The programme is looking at

  • Home of the Future – how will people live and work in the future and what does this mean for the places we build, retrofit, adapt and maintain now?
  • Service Transformation – what will housing services look like for customers and staff in the future and what does this mean for housing associations now?
  • Tackling Poverty and Demonstrating Impact – how can we understand our social and economic impact to inform dialogue with tenants and continuously drive up our social value?

Over 60 individuals are currently working across 10 projects, following three Innovation Boot Camps in August and September which generated ideas and a range of ambitious priorities.  

We are using an online collaboration platform to test new approaches to digital collaboration across the sector.

Many SFHA members are part of the innovation community, as are most of the academic institutions in Scotland, a range of construction and architectural companies, third and public sector partners.

Home of the Future projects are exploring modern methods of construction, flexible and inclusive design of places, a digital model for asset management, and use of green features in the built environment to provide benefits for people and nature (led by Scottish Natural Heritage).  Funding opportunities are available for housing associations to translate new ideas into practice on the ground.

Service Transformation projects have tested the application of human centred design thinking in a number of housing associations to demonstrate how this approach could be applied to service and process design.  A sector-wide conversation with staff, tenants and board members on future service delivery models is inviting housing associations to hold conversations about the future of housing services, and will incorporate a major social media debate.  Results from these projects will feed into the development of business transformation roadmap and resource for housing associations.  This strand is also exploring the potential for collaborative working across housing associations to improve tenants’ internet access as a prerequisite for housing association business transformation.

In the poverty and impact strand, a project led is helping housing associations to embed the use of social and economic impact information in decision making, to improve as well as prove the community benefits of all aspects of our work.  Another project on understanding and working with customers is developing new thinking on engagement models for the future.  An awareness campaign led by SFHA will promote the work of housing associations in relation to poverty and social justice.

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