From: Jayne Hilditch (@jaynehilditch), Corporate services director, Thames Valley Housing Association
Dudes (deliberately not ‘sir’ – it’s 2012 and technology rocks) – I’m curious, I’m insanely excited and I ‘love’ technology and what it can do for people. I ‘love’ the social housing sector, and what it can do ‘with’ people. There. I just thought I’d get that out in the open. Oh man, is this sector up for some disruption in the coming years. I could fill every available inch in your magazine with the great things we could do. But I’ll pace myself. This is just the letters page after all.
One of the key objectives for our ICT strategy is enabling ‘channel-shift’. 20 years ago, the housing sector delivered its services face-to-face, with lots of neighbourhood offices. Ten years ago, we made a shift to telephone contact centres. And now it’s changing again as we take service delivery online. Properly online, not just that little ‘check your repairs history and pay your rent’ add-on to the website that we did a few years back. Let’s do something that’s engaging and compelling, something that is inherently human and social.
Can we turn customers into ‘prosumers’ (like Amazon’s book reviewers)? Can we stimulate and capture customer feedback (like patientopinion.org.uk)? Can we set up local Freecycle networks? Can we respond to service requests raised on twitter (@virginmedia can)? What partnerships can we form to help our customers (we’ve partnered with myworksearch.co.uk to bring online job search help to all our customers who want it)?
Quite a tall order though, eh? Big embedded investment in core systems, internal skills and mindsets more aligned to corporate ICT projects and Prince2 than web-DNA and agile project management. Oh, but what fun. An opportunity to focus on ‘yes and’ instead of ‘yes but’. Who’s in? Find me on twitter and let’s build a tribe of revolutionaries.