What did you think of Housing Camp 2014?

So – as I mentioned at the end of the day yesterday, we’d love you to blog about Housing Camp – share the love, spread the passion, and tell the world about the great conversations you had and awesome stuff you did.

Whatever and wherever you post (including videos, photos and all that jazz), please post a link in the comments below.

And, if you’re in a hurry, or struggling to think of something to write about in detail – why not try a list of 10 ‘things’. There’s quite a few on this page from last year to get you thinking, and I’ll kick off with mine too.

Thanks again for making Housing Camp 2014 incredible.

9 thoughts on “What did you think of Housing Camp 2014?

  1. Jon Foster Post author

    As promised, here’s my list to start us off:
    1 – I’m incredibly lucky to be able to work with Jayne to organise this – not only is she wonderful at organising Housing Camp, but we have a lot of laughs along the way.
    2 – I still firmly believe that we will seriously struggle to make *any* worthwhile progress on providing services fit for 2014 (or whenever we get round to fixing them) when our core data is held in and accessed by, and our organisations are run using, housing management systems that have been made with little consideration for their users, and with seemingly no skilled design input.
    3 – Aviation House was a great venue, thanks so much James and GDS – fingers crossed we’ll be aloud back next time :)
    4 – Resident Review looks brilliant, and is something I’ve very nearly made many times myself. Mitch has a great approach and a great story, I think he and it will go far!
    5 – Our sponsors are wonderful – we’re lucky to be able to work with people who not only give us money, but come and get just as stuck in as the rest of us – this is what makes you brilliant.
    6 – If I’m going to run a session, I need to do so earlier in the day, while my brain is still working properly. Apologies to those who came to my session in the last slot and struggled to understand what I was on about!
    7 – I’ve added a number of people to my list of people I’m going to pull (back) into the housing sector.
    8 – Having the guys down from Noble Espresso was one of the best sponsorship spend decisions I think I/we’ve ever made.
    9 – It was really interesting to see so many people interested in regen, but sad I didn’t make any of the sessions! Meetup anyone?
    10 – One very large advantage of having Lloyd Davis (there are a few), is that he still has energy at the end of the day, and so can send you all home inspired and reflective. I’m not sure how much my ‘Jon Foster – Tired & Emotional’-style notices and bad directions to the pub did this.

  2. Jayne Hilditch

    1. That Jon Foster is an awesome partner in crime for organising things like this. We have a whole pile of fun doing it… (Check out his hyperlapse film on Instagram of how we made the Team tee-shirts – he’e @foz_ on there btw).

    2. The wider TeamHousingCamp are awesome too. They make doing an event like this actually much easier than you might think. We put together a list of things that need doing (actually, we pretty much recycled last years list), they take on one or two of the things, and bingo, it all happens. No great meetings, agendas, or master plans. People want to help.

    3. Networks of people trump individual knowledge. We’d been wracking our brains for a great venue… James Cattell found a solution. He’s a wonderful connector of different worlds.

    4. Design led thinking. User-centred design, service design. Design is word that’s morphing inside HAs right now. Its no longer just about building design. We’re realising we need designers and design skills in all aspects of our organisations.

    5. User-focused service design trumps business process re-engineering.

    6. Although I live and breathe “channel shift”, it’s still jargon to most people.

    7. Thinking & talking about what we *could* do is a refreshing break from some of the things we get stuck into doing.

    8. I didn’t get chance to have a natter with Lucy Smith on building performance data. Which is a shame and something I must rectify soon.

    9. Online services feel a homeless in organisations. Our internal structures haven’t caught up – it’s not a comms thing, or an IT thing. It’s a joined up Housing+Comms+IT+Designers+Users thing.

    10. Currywurst & chips go really well with Prosecco.

  3. Anne McCrossan

    I’m cross posting my 10 for you guys because you’re so worth it.

    My 10 Things From This Year’s Housing Camp

    1. As Roommy Zahid at Yorkshire Housing said, ‘it’s for doers’. Yes, you too can organise a day full of in-depth sessions within 1 hour with about 75 people like we did.

    2. Jon Turner is shaping up to be the son of Lloyd Davis.

    3. GDS was a great place to host it – particularly apt as were we were talking about public sector management for the future. James Cattell made it possible. James Cattell makes a lot possible.

    4. Digital is becoming practical and a part of business as usual. In the last 12 months since the last Housing Camp there was a noticeable shift in emphasis from ‘talking digital’ to ‘doing digital’. Maybe because of who came this year, maybe not, there were more sessions on things like repairs, community impact and tenancy management which were good to see.

    5. Great coffee goes a long way.

    6. But not as far as how far there is to go on interaction design. Time after time, various sessions threw up examples of where we are only just scratching the surface on it.

    7. People sometimes get ‘digital utility’ and ‘digital engagement’ mixed up. Housing is often still debating what to do with a website without going into much detail about this.

    8. Overall, there could be more clarity around the Housing narrative. Communications are not linking to outcomes a great deal, either through planning, tracking or analysis. ‘Connected housing’ in that fullest sense is still some way off. The glass is half full and also half empty there.

    9. Housing is not ready for the Internet of Things. Repeat. Not at all ready.

    10. It would be good to make meeting rooms with large square tables less of a thing.

  4. Rob Ellis

    10 things I’ve taken from housing camp:

    1. Unconferences are much better than normal conferences, especially when they come with free coffee. Roll on the next one.
    2. Digital is key to long -term housing aims, but it will never entirely replace traditional channels.
    3. Customer effort would be a good measurable metric for interaction.
    4. In order to test with residents, we need to properly engage them.
    5. Acceptable disappointment is a lot better than it sounds, and two speed IT is the way to get Senior Management buy-in.
    6. We need a better way of saying and implementing Channel-shift. This can be done through a focus on the actual users (Users, Users, Users!), but it needs integration and devlopment skills, either internally or from the supplier.
    7. Systems impact upon culture and all systems (including websites, resident portals and intranets) need to be as human.
    8. It’s handy keep half an eye on the twitter feed, so you can find out what’s happening in any sessions you don’t manage to get to.
    9. The experience of new and incoming tenants needs to be reflected throughout the service, not just in a glossy website, but throughout the resident experience, including across complex functions such as rent and repairs.
    10. Pub afterwards for beer and currywurst is a must. Thanks to all involved for a great #housingcamp. Meet up?

  5. Sarah Hewitt

    What a great day! Thanks Jayne and Jon :)

    1. An unconference is a great idea and much more interesting than a normal conference!
    2. That so many people are committed enough to housing to give up their Saturdays to discuss, debate and learn.
    3. Coffee makes everyone happy
    4. The awesomeness that is Streetbank is not very well known – (it’s a searchable and local skills-swap website that connects people with skills and useful objects in their neighbourhood and has great potential for a template for volunteering in the housing sector)
    5. Branding is key – someone (sorry I can’t remember who) said “we should always be singing what great things you do every day!”
    6. We shouldn’t forget the social outcomes of housing; they are really important and have huge potential for change.
    7. Measuring stuff is great, but we should make sure what is measured reflects either your values or the organisation you are working with’s values.
    8. The energy and enthusiasm and organisation of Jayne and Jon (Housing Camp HQ) were fantastic – I’m sorry you didn’t get to sit in on more sessions!
    9. It was great to hear so many people thinking about and talking about well-being and user research – a topic we live and breathe every day but nice to know others do too!
    10. When’s the next one?!


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