Eric Schmidt, Google co-founder and current executive chairman of Alphabet, thinks "the next $100 billion company"--an entrepreneurial moonshot--will "use the crowd to learn something."
Schmidt goes on a bit about a crowdsource-fueled business model, concluding:
"How can I use scalability and get my users to teach me? If my users teach me and I can sell ... a service which is better than their knowledge, it's a win for everybody."
What more fertile knowledge base and interface can there be but a home, a community, a town, a city? What more fertile ground for learning, for "users" teaching us, and us learning to scale solutions as we learn, than in homes, and people who live in them as users?
What's amazing about sharing-economy supernovas is the "why-didn't-I-think-of-that?" light they expose on a need that's already there, already well-defined, that applied technology and innovation meet in such profoundly simple, elegant, scalable ways.
We believe that housing and its challenges offer a doorway to opportunity just like that. Boiled down, housing is jobs, shelter, connectivity, safety and an adaptive interface that provides usefulness, pleasure, and a financial outcome. People are the users, and they prove to be willing participants in helping train or teach a marketer what to sell and scale.
A challenge for housing is its age bias. Older people own the homes. They realize the value of homeowning. Older people also own the housing companies--they own the capital, the finite resources of land and access to labor and materials. What's more older workers own the jobs. The young start out disenfranchised, and, if the American Dream works, they become enfranchised--as workers, as company leaders, as home and community owners.
So, the housing community faces difficulty, bringing young adults into homeownership, and bringing them into housing businesses and trades to replenish the talent and skills pool.
These are two of housing's "solvable challenges," that we plan to take up and work ideas into action at our upcoming HIVE conference. HIVE stands for Housing Innovation Vision and Economics. Here's a phrase from a Harvard Business Review piece by business consultant Greg Satell that strikes a relevant chord:
"The truth is that some of the problems we face today are simply too big and complex to be solved by any one organization."
Satell's point is that collaboration--a brand new look at stakeholders from private enterprise, public policy, and academia--gives innovation an opportunity to get "level-set" in real-world, economic reality before proceeding too far down the path of theory. He writes:
Many innovative companies have learned the value of instilling this type of iterative process across integrated, multidisciplinary teams within their organizations. As it turns out, if we are to solve our biggest and toughest problems, we need to learn how to implement that same level of collaboration across our entire society.
HIVE--Sept. 28 and 29 in Los Angeles--is an ideas-into-action event that will stimulate new discourse, fresh insight, and collaborative thought on what up to now may have been considered intractable, chronic, and inevitable challenges. It's about open-sourcing solutions for the future of housing. Ultimately, it's about innovation--using "the crowd" to learn something that can be scaled and sold--which is change that changes the rules. This is why we want you there. Here's where you go to register.