Disrupting Bromford: Our project with Hyper Island

How could the digital economy support people five to ten years in the future?

We've been in Manchester today talking about Bromford , the Lab and digital disruption with a group of international MA students.

It all came about because of a conversation with digital futurist Mike Ryan who was keen that the students did some work with a social purpose organisation.

Hyper Island originates from Sweden where it launched in 1996. Its mission is distilled into two main areas of focus:

1) Educational programs and courses to immerse young talents and industry professionals in intensive learning experiences from digital strategy, e-Commerce and data strategy to art direction and through self leadership and reflection.

2) Business Innovation consulting to boost understanding of how digital changes societies and consumer behavior -- and support organisations in the change process of staying or becoming creative and competitive in an increasingly digitized world.

Basically , Hyper Island are breeding disruptive thinkers who will be employed by the organisations brave enough to want their practices, cultures and business models challenged. 

So what are they doing with us?

We visited today to hand over the brief and take (some very difficult) questions. Then for two weeks they will be hard at work , researching , prototyping and creating.

They'll be presenting their findings to our Bromford Squads in June. We are also hoping to have some of the students present their research at House Party.

What does the digital housing association of the future look like? Will it even exist? We'll soon find out. 

The full brief is contained below. Bromford Lab have not paid for these services - costs are being borne by the Hyper Island programme. 



Bromford are a social enterprise who help people be the best they can be.

Founded in the Midlands in the UK in 1963 , Bromford began as a housing association for low income working families. (Read more in the Bromford Story)

Today it provides services to over 70,000 customers that range from courses to help find work; support to help get tenancies off to the best possible start; money advice; skills coaches to help access the right training or learning opportunities; and information and advice about the home. Bromford own 28,000 homes and also provide services to other landlords.

Bromford work with customers to agree what it is they want to achieve in their life. It could be anything that makes them feel more in control of their future.

Bromford have a strong history of success and are known for trying to think differently. In 2012 they embarked upon a establishing the Bromford Deal. This was intended to begin a very different relationship with customers. One based on aspiration and achievement rather than the more paternalistic tenant/landlord relationships of traditional housing associations.

This means we are having to think very differently in a fast changing environment. Bromford now exist in a world without Government subsidy but with rising customer demand and fast accelerating changes in technology.

To help meet this challenge we established the Bromford Lab in 2014. The Lab works with a range of colleagues and partners to instill innovations in the business. The Lab has recently established four squads of colleagues to think differently on the themes of home , money , community and health.

The question we want you to consider is:

How can the digital economy in the UK support people to access better health , financial and community connections?  And what place or role does the connected home play as a platform for people to achieve their aspirations?

The internet is beginning to transform the home from an analogue age to one of hyper connectivity. In the next decade many homes will have dozens of devices and objects connected to the web as we enter an age coined as ‘the internet of things’.

Society can be measured in technology rich and poor as more services and transactions require connection to the internet. Many jobs will change in the next decade as more people freelance and treat their home as their workplace.

Open source movements have transformed the cost and accessibility of technology but at the same time giant online corporations are lining up to control the information flow in our homes.

Bromford, as a forward thinking housing association need your assistance in defining the ways their communities and housing can evolve in a future which is unclear. You should base your ideas on solving this for the social housing sector.

With a mixed view of the future you are tasked with looking a decade into the future (2025) to show us the ways technology and connected homes can transform the lives of ordinary people and deliver better access to health, finance and community connections?

You will deliver a presentation of your solution which can include prototypes that show how technology can be an enabler to a better, fairer society.

For your submission you will produce a website which will hold a deeper set of information around your solution.