Due to the Coronavirus outbreak our planned programme for Housing Futures and Business Transformation will be postponed. However, if you are interested in helping create a better future for Wales post-Covid through collaboration and creative solutions, join in our Influencing to build a better future strand of Alcemi. Read more here.

NOTICE: Due to the Coronavirus outbreak our planned programme for Housing Futures and Business Transformation will be postponed. However, if you are interested in helping create a better future for Wales post-Covid through collaboration and creative solutions, join in our Influencing to build a better future strand of Alcemi. Read more here.


Housing Futures is a programme which will run for the next 18 months. The desired outcome of the programme is to develop a service, product or new approach that will help solve a challenge facing us in the sector.

The work is being run in collaboration with the National Housing Federation, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, and the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations.

Working with innovation experts ?Whatif!, we want every housing association in Wales to benefit from working together on a sector-wide scale to tackle our shared challenges.

The work will run in the following stages:

This is the biggest collaborative exercise ever undertaken by our sector, and we’ll also benefit from working with teams from across England, Scotland and Ireland.

We have hit the ground running in 2020 with this programme and we need YOU!

View timeline

Look back on the Challenge Identification workshops

Take part in the free Insight Labs

View the Welsh Steering Group

The stories behind Housing Futures

Invisible Creations

As the ageing population grows, it’s increasingly important to create services that meet the needs of people. Laura Wood was PR and Communications Lead at North Star Housing Group when she joined forces with colleagues from across the sector in England to form Invisible Creations. She tells us how  The National Housing Federation’s ‘Creating our Future’ programme (the first stage of the Federation’s futures’ programme) encouraged the collaborative work that led to Invisible Creations, of which she is now Marketing Director.


Identify phase: January – February 2020

Identifying the challenge

During this phase, we invited housing association staff and tenants across Wales to look at the broad area that will become the focus for the programme in Wales. We engaged with 117 people from 94% of our membership during 8 workshops. We also had 39 contributions online.

The Welsh Steering Group

The Welsh Steering Group has been chosen and applications are now closed. The purpose of the Steering Group is to have oversight of the Housing Futures programme in Wales as it progresses. At each stage the Welsh Steering Group will have specific decision making responsibilities and will act as champions for the programme, playing a crucial role in its success.

Challenge Criteria

The challenge identified must meet the following criteria:

  • affect a significant number of people
  • have a significant impact on those they affect
  • be a challenge that is likely to get more acute in the future if action is not taken now

Through the programme, associations will collaborate on shared challenges. As a result, we are looking for problem areas that:

  • require collaboration and can't be solved by one association alone

We want to make use of the collective resource and expertise of the sector to solve shared problems. As a result we are looking for problem areas that:

  • relate to the core business of housing associations

It won't matter if our challenge area is the same as a region in England.


The Challenge Identification workshops

The Challenge Identification workshops are now over! We held numerous sessions across all of Wales in order to get to the heart of the issues faced in housing. There were fantastic insights from housing association staff and tenants across the country. Additionally, the Housing Futures survey has closed and the results will be collated with the workshop outcomes.

Now, the Steering Group will take the findings from the workshops and survey and work together to decide the challenge we will face in Wales.

Welsh Steering Group for Housing Futures

Watch these short videos from participants:


Apply for the Greenhouse

Applications for the Greenhouse phase open on March 25 and close in May.

All the information you need will be released in February.

You can register for updates here.

Watch this space!


Insight phase: April – June 2020

Doing the detective work

The key to great innovation is falling in love with the problem. So this phase will focus on gathering lots of insight about the problem highlighted in the Identify phase. During the Insight phase, staff will develop a deep understanding of the problem area as well as learning key insights gathering skills. The insights gathered will help to refine the problem area and will become a crucial resource for the next part of the programme: the ideas phase.

Join the free Insight Labs

Insight Labs


Ideas phase: June 2020

Preparing the groundwork

Using all the insight gathered in the previous stage, the Ideas phase will bring together housing association staff from across the UK to get a crash-course in how to innovate by working on their strategic challenge.

Facilitated by ?WhatIf! Innovation, this three-day 'hackathon', will see participants immersed in the challenge area they are looking to solve, generate a new idea, build a prototype and then pitch it to a Dragon's Den style panel.

This is a fantastic staff development opportunity in its own right and is also the final selection round for the next phase of the innovation process.


Incubate phase: The Greenhouse
September – December 2020

This phase will develop a new product, service or approach that tackles the challenge identified in the earlier stages.

We will do this by having a team made up of housing association staff across Wales learning to innovate by doing during our 16-week full-time Greenhouse programme. The Greenhouse HQ will be at CHC’s offices in Cardiff. While the HQ is in Cardiff, the team will work flexibly and be visible right across Wales. 

Activity during the Greenhouse will include: 

  • An innovation boot camp - a three-day residential workshop where particpants will learn the innovation process in more detail.
  • Pivot and persevere - three meetings with ?WhatIf! Innovation to provide support and help to develop the idea.
  • Steering group meetings - three meetings with the Welsh Steering group. These meetings will be an opportunity for the steering group members to input into the ideas developed by the team.
  • Midway meeting - a one-day workshop bringing together all teams to collaboratively problem solve the challenges they are facing. The workshop is designed to boost the ideas processes at a critical point in their development.
  • Pitching masterclass - a two-day workshop where teams will learn how to create and perform a successful pitch. This will hone and refine their presentations skills ahead of an event where the teams will present their concepts to the sector.
  • Greenhouse graduation - a one-day event where chief executives from participating associations will hear about how to embed an innovation culture in their organisations. This will be followed by a celebration of the participants' involvement in the programme so far.

Applications for the Greenhouse open March 23 2020 and will close in May.


Supporting ideas to succeed: December 2020 onwards

This phase of work will support the team to decide whether and how to take forward the idea that has been developed through the Greenhouse.

This phase will also establish a network to support associations to share learnings from the programme, including the barriers to innovation, and how to take back lessons into individual organisations.

Alcemi Case Studies

Influencing to build a better future
Influencing for a better future

Influencing for a better future

The importance of a good home has been exposed on a grand and very public scale during the lockdown period. Clairssa Corbisiero looks at how the sector vision of a Wales where good housing is a basic right for all has driven our new programme of work, placing housing at the centre of post Covid recovery in Wales. 

Housing Futures
Good innovation is about falling in love with the problem

Good innovation is about falling in love with the problem

In 2018, Katie Teasdale took part in the National Housing Federation’s innovation programme – then called Creating Our Future. After a three-day ‘hackathon’ event, learning how to solve problems and generate ideas, she was selected to join a 16 week secondment, where 25 people from across the housing sector were tasked with creating and developing ideas to change the world. Katie, Head of Member Services at the National Housing Federation, tells us what happened next…

Housing Futures
Housing Futures: A massive opportunity for the sector

Housing Futures: A massive opportunity for the sector

Over the next 18 months housing associations across Wales will be collaborating on an unprecedented scale, coming together with colleagues in England & Scotland to tackle housing’s biggest challenges. Edwina O’Hart is the Futures lead at Community Housing Cymru. She tells us what to expect:

Register your interest to receive updates

Language Preference