After hosting nearly two dozen #navigatingthecrisis virtual meetings with over 250 social housing leaders, Golden Marzipan’s Peter Lunio shares his insight into how the sector is dealing with the COVID-19 crisis…
It was in our breakfast briefing session #10, ‘The Board’s Role in Preparing for the New Normal,’ that one chair said: “How can we ever tell ourselves again that we can’t be better? We have just proven we can. We’re not going back!”
It’s the not-going-back that will stick in our minds. The question is, will that hold true?
At Golden Marzipan, we have now run 23 #navigatingthecrisis breakfast briefing events. When we started them back in April, we could not imagine that they would become so popular and generate such a loyal and engaged audience.
Over 250 social housing leaders have come through our virtual door, far exceeding our expectations, and they have helped cultivate some emerging themes. Just a few of these include:
- Purpose of social housing
- Risk management and governance
- Asset management, #proptech, #placetech
- The environment
- Accelerated digital transformation
- Agile working and the role of the office/hubs
Resolve | Resilience | Return | Reimagine | Reform
Before we started hosting the breakfast briefing events, we searched for a model to guide us through the crisis. Others have created their own versions, but we admired McKinsey’s 5Rs, and we have stuck with them since.
We recommended their insights, but we built on them by utilising our social housing knowledge and experience.
We all quickly adjusted to Zoom culture. Our first Zoom briefing, ‘Connecting and Collaborating at Home,’ was well received by all.
The advice we delivered over the course of our many Zoom meetings has stood the test of time, as we have ensured our sessions are kept informal, informative, and engaging.
The resilience and mental health of people has been a recurring theme throughout our briefings, and we were particularly pleased to support Mental health Awareness Week in May. Our session on Organisational Resilience generated a great deal of interest, too.
It seems we have been planning for a return to the workplace since the day after we went into lockdown. By the middle of May, the practicalities of a return were becoming apparent.
Yvonne Castle, CEO of Johnnie Johnson, was our guest speaker as we looked at our SAFE methodology for allowing our teams to resume their duties.
Clearly, the return to the workplace would not take place for many for months…
Utilising Golden Marzipan’s digital roots have led to many conversations about the rapid transformation of services using technology and data.
“We hope that throughout the pandemic we have served as that port in the storm”
This theme appeared to generate a huge amount of interest – particularly our sessions on accelerated digital transformation, the Holy Trinity of risk management, governance in the new normal, and reimagining asset management.
Many have seen this pandemic as an opportunity to embrace change in the way things are done in social housing. The session that created a great deal of comment featured guest speaker Fay Selvan (chair of Jigsaw and CEO of Big Life Group).
Fay set out a 10-point blueprint for change, which if taken together with Catherine Ryder (the NHF’s Director of Policy and Research) and her session on building a fairer society from the ground up, provide a detailed blueprint for a housing association as an organisation and a guide to helping to rebuild the local community.
We hope that throughout the pandemic we have served as that port in the storm and as a place that facilitates guidance and the sharing of best practice.
Heading into the autumn, we aim to continue our role as that welcoming port as organisations recover, reimagine, and reset.
Main image: Peter Lunio, Director, Golden Marzipan
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