How might we ensure that we offer customers the right housing option for them?



It’s been just under two weeks since our first discovery session around the 10 ‘how might we’ questions that make up our current exploration pipeline.

Our first workshop was one of four that we ran within a week, so we’ve had a busy time making final preparations, facilitating workshops, analysing output and working out loud. Working out loud is one of our Lab guiding principles and we are really keen to share both our colleagues work and their ideas.

Actually knowing what to share and when to share sometimes makes us scratch our heads a little. The problem with workshops like discovery sessions is:

Ideas that come out of initial exploration are raw and often an early iteration of what might be, rather than a solid blueprint for what will be.

We are going to share the high-level themes which emerge from each session, rather than wait for them to be worked up into something more substantial and we’re also going to try and keep the format of our discovery session summary posts tight and succinct.

Following the sessions, the next steps will be for Innovation and Insight is to work up some solid test plans based on what we learned and we will, of course, be sharing more about those in due course.

Workshop Summary

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The output from previous service design work formed the starting point.

Early work had determined with colleagues that Finding a Home should be a whole life service where helping customers determine their next move is as important as finding them the right home in the first place.

Importantly - we wanted to challenge the practice common in the sector of keeping rented, sales and shared ownership in different boxes. 

This is a service where joined-up data is required to help us find out about the customer and their requirements. Customers should be able to easily access the information they need on the products and services we have available, or we have in development. This is currently a complex service area that we want to simplify. This means challenging ourselves when designing services - we don’t want to recreate today’s complexity in our future service offering.

During the workshop, some key fundamental principles emerged and colleagues were keen for us to test ways to bring each principle to life:

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In all, colleagues came up with 10 high-level ideas which we boiled down into four main areas to focus on:


We want to make it easier for both new and existing customers to move in and out of Bromford properties and gain a better understanding of how and where we develop our future products and services.


We want to work with our customers to understand more about them, and also work with people who want to be our customers in order to get them into the right place and provide them with the right housing options for them.


We want to use the knowledge of our Neighbourhood Coaches in order to provide nuanced local information when it comes to marketing our properties.


We want to provide more self-service options to make it easier for customers to deal with us on their terms.

Some of the 'wild ideas' included:

  1. What if we provided a coaching service for people who weren't yet customers - to match them to the right housing option?
  2. What if we resisted 'checking' on customers and just believed everything they said?
  3. What if we gave customers the ability to let their own home when they leave?

We will be working with colleagues in the coming weeks to look at developing some tests. A key priority will be around learning more about how to identify a customer or prospective customer’s next move and also get to the bottom of what is the minimum viable information we need from customers to match them to right home.

Watch this space.