Whether home builders--and their design, engineering, and manufacturer partners--get it or not, they're very, very good at improving people's odds of living happily.
Japan-based Sekisui House--parent company of multi-regional top-25 U.S. home builder Woodside Homes and national community development powerhouse North American Sekisui House--puts a deeply-embedded "love of humanity" into its core business plan, and making home "happy" is a serious, central strategic driver.
As Sekisui House celebrates its 60th year in business in 2020, it will likely deliver on 16,000 new single-family for-sale homes through it worldwide operations. Entering its 7th decade of success as the world's No. 1 home builder, its strategic leaders believe now is an ideal moment to change its business model altogether.
Yes, when the driving force of an enterprise has equally prized triple bottom lines--profitability, the improvement of the planet, and social impact--a migration from manufacturing and distributing new homes, the most costly consumer durable most people buy in their lives, to a literal "platform" for people's well-being comes as a natural, logical progression.
It strategic leaders look at Sekisui House as entering the third phase of its evolution as an enterprise, the first stretch focusing on the safety and security of its homes, and the second phase emphasizing comfort and sanctuary.
In its third chapter, officially getting underway now and resulting in a new series of unprecedented, innovative home offerings in Japan in 2020, corporate philosophy and operational business strategy converge around a single objective: happiness.
Specifically, in Japan where more than a quarter of the population is considered to be elderly, and a key characteristic of household demography is "aging," Sekisui House's newest relentless pursuit of solutions to a very hard problem is "the happiness of the 100 year generation."
Home--in this particular strategic vision--should not just be a place people return to for sanctuary, but rather also a "platform" to embark from into the world with good health, a sound state of mind, and a sense of well-being.
Importantly, Sekisui House announced plans for its new home-as-a-service business model--expected to find its way into 100 new homes a month in Japan in 2020--at this year's CES in Las Vegas. by way of expressing that a confluence of transformative technologies--physical sensors that capture all of the living areas of a home environment and bio data that maps each resident's baseline health criteria--can elevate home health to an almost unimaginable level.
Here, from a press statement released yesterday, are details of the Platform House plan:
"The Platform House Concept aims to dramatically change the industry model of housing. The services are planned to start in line with the 60th anniversary of Sekisui House's founding in Spring 2020. At Sekisui House, we believe that the house should be a platform for happiness in the so-called 100-year generation in Japan.
"The Platform House will use resident data as a base to develop and recommend services for creating intangible assets such as health, connections, and learning, while also being a sturdy and adaptive residence. In line with our vision to 'make home the happiest place in the world' the Platform House will assist the happiness of the 100-year generation.
The first step in our efforts is health. By dividing health into 3 groups; emergency response, health monitoring over time, and preventitive care; we can provide a new value to the residents."
At CES yesterday, Sekisui House presented its case-study on emergency response--dealing with a stroke victim [Japan reports 290,000 strokes annually, four-out-of-five of which occur in the home].
"If the house can detect the onset of certain conditions, social cost can be reduced and the quality of life can be improved."
To realize the Platform House Concept, we have made wide alliances with specialized high-end companies for open innovation to develop and provide services. Our efforts towards health will be continued together with AIST, Hitachi, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, Keio University Hospital, Konica-Minolta, NEC, and NTT Comware."
Sekisui House plans to launch services of the Platform House in Japan by spring of 2020.
Yoshihiro Nakai, President and Representative Director of Sekisui House, notes that once the service portfolio is up-and-running in its new construction single-family detached housing, the company will expand, first to remodeling existing homes, and eventually into commercial applications ranging from hospitality, to senior health centers, to apartments.
President Nakai emphasized that urgencies that set Japan apart in terms of its aging population make Japan the logical launching ground for the Platform House. But he said that, especially given the growing expectations for Sekisui House's Woodside Homes U.S. partner, it would be leveraging Woodside as a natural learning ground for U.S. expansion of the Platform House health services bundle.
The big take-away here relates to yesterday's column. "It's not what you sell; it's what you stand for."