interior of chocolate works care village
Chocolate Works Care Village: One example of disruptive innovation in the residential care and dementia care sector. Offers outstanding living for the elderly. “A great place to live”.

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A Great Place to Live!

Disruptive Innovation and Designing Homes

By: John Baird, Director

What is Disruptive Innovation?

It is innovation that creates a new market, and eventually disrupts and displaces the existing market. This creates ongoing and necessary change in all sectors, including the construction industry. Disruptive innovation challenges the status quo and looks to create progressive and sometimes radical change. In the context of residential architecture, this innovation aims to design a great place to live!

However, when new disruptive and innovative products are put to market, nobody wants to offer a great product that struggles to get a foothold, and likewise nobody wants to be dismissed as a fad. Sometimes it takes time for disruption to take hold as technology catches up. The status quo can be very hard to shift in terms of; familiar habits, accepted norms, vested interests, and fear of change. Often problems are recognized but partial non-disruptive solutions are offered to try and maintain the status quo.

The driving forces of disruption are:

  • Challenges – disruption needs to address an issue or need for change
  • Trends – disruption needs to build on other changes already in progress
  • Opportunities – disruption needs to be beneficial enough to outweigh the risk of change
fletton quays buildings in peterborough

Fletton Quays Joint Venture: Peterborough Investment Partnership (PIP) was created as a joint venture partnership between Peterborough City Council (PCC) and GB Strategic Land Fund (GBSLF)

There are many factors in play that suggest the supply of homes in all guises is ripe for disruption. Will the dream of a detached house with garden and off-street parking be relevant for future generations? Is it compatible with concerns over climate change, car traffic, pollution, and a growing population? With so many challenges to be faced in the coming years, from financial to health-related, architects are at the precipice of change. Only through intelligent design and innovative approaches can the disruption lead to positive developments.

NORR is at the forefront of designing for change, from the Fletton Quays Joint Venture in Peterborough to the Chocolate Works Care Village in York. These examples of disruptive innovation have been highly praised and contributed to changing trends in regeneration approaches, and residential care design.

A team from NORR’s Leeds office was invited by Mills & Reeve, together with Bruntwood, to take part in one of a series of events on ‘disruptive innovation’. It took place in Bruntwood’s platform building on 3rd October 2018. This article was extracted from their presentation on the subject.