During the Industrial Age, the model of innovation was that of an isolated inventor having a literal “light bulb moment” and creating a disruptive single technology around which transformation was built. Today, sustainability innovation has rejected this siloed model and instead adopted a collaborative approach that propels our thinking forward together, reflecting the interdependent systems of both nature and business to create a kind of ideation ecosystem.


Charles Darwin said, "It is the long history of humankind (and animalkind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." KB Home and its partners have applied this principle in order to develop the home of the future in the KB Home Greenbuild ProjeKt, which is being unveiled on the floor of the Greenbuild International Show and Expo in October 2016. The KB Home Greenbuild ProjeKt is as much about inventing and innovating the process by which we will create sustainable, meaningful change within the home building industry as it is about building a physical model of the future. The builders and architects who attend Greenbuild will experience a literal manifestation of collaboration and take away new ideas for how collaboration can transform their own work today, as well as help them innovate toward the future.

The ProjeKt is based on research and experience showing that innovation created in a collaborative environment is much more likely to produce new products with strong consumer appeal. In fact, a 2015 Nielsen Collaboration and Innovation Study examining consumer product development found that “ideas developed by teams of three or more people have 156% greater appeal with consumers” and develop much farther from the originating concept than products driven by teams of just one or two people.

The collaboration behind the KB Home Greenbuild ProjeKt is comprised of forward-looking organizations from business, design and academia, including not only KB Home and Hanley Wood, but also Whirlpool, Owens Corning, Kohler, Sherwin Williams, SunPower, Savant, architectural firm KTGY, Virginia Tech and a range of additional partners and sponsors. Having both a wide breadth of expertise and a deep experience in a variety of key disciplines and products means that this group was able to generate more ideas and then to develop them farther than any one of the organizations could have done on their own. The collaboration also benefits from close partnership between many of the organizations over numerous projects, which has built a level of trust that maximizes the creative ideation process.

Utilizing both traditional face-to-face brainstorming and collaboration technologies, this group was able to leverage each individual areas of expertise into a network of ideas driven by emerging trends, market intelligence, building science R&D, and next-generation products. Rather than taking a siloed, “menu” approach, this holistic philosophy fostered more creative, interdependent solutions that truly envision a future for the building industry where business, consumers and the environment work in true collaboration to create a new experience of sustainable living.

The Greenbuild KB Home ProjeKt will be showcased Oct. 5 and 6 at the Greenbuild International Show and Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. To see what collaboration-driven innovation looks like in action, sign up to take a tour.