Illustrations by Jason Schneider

And 45 other equally bold, game-changing stories of housing innovation's most profoundly impactful accomplishments rank among our Hive 50, the only honor of its kind. The future of housing is happening now, and you can see it here.

These HIVE 50 Innovators will be honored at the HIVE conference, to be held November 28-29 in Austin, Texas, during a reception and dinner. Register now to attend. Take a look at all this year's 50 innovations here. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite HIVE 50 innovation with the Peoples’ Choice Award, which will be announced at the HIVE 50 Honors dinner.

Housing, it's said, is ripe for disruption, and by looking through the Hive 50, you can see it happening.

Housing, it's also said, is in dire need of transformation, because it's largely ignoring--or can't make its business models work for--millions of American households of modest means. You can see exceptions, bright spots, eventual break-throughs among this year's Hive 50 honorees.

Housing needs innovation, not to entertain big, sexy, highfalutin' ideas about big data, artificial intelligence, and robotic technology. Housing needs innovation or housing's current, established, incumbent powers--in investing, in development, in engineering and construction, in distribution, and in marketing--will wither sooner or later. It's an existential matter.

The business and practice of housing needs innovation because, the way it works today is a classic case-book study in doing something over and over again and expecting a different result.

Housing--specifically-and its leaders--particularly--must expect of themselves and accountably produce two outcomes that are beyond the reach or intention of most of their current efforts.

  • One is to develop new and renovated housing that begins to keep pace with the 13 million-and counting new jobs the U.S. economy has generated over the past decade, people who are working but who are making $60,000 in their households.
  • The other is to make housing itself regenerative by becoming a talent and brilliance and purpose magnet among young girls and boys and young men and women.

Here is a list of companies, people, projects, and initiatives--every one of them a story of innovation in action--who represents strides forward in the direction of these two most basic and fundamental challenges, to build affordably and to reel-in a new generation of talent.

Building Technology: Products, systems and solutions that transform structure to perform optimally

  • Sonnen and Mandalay Homes – Energy Storage System
  • U.S. Gypsum – SecuRock ExoAir 430 Weather Barrier
  • KB Home – The KB Home ProJeKt – Where Tomorrow Lives
  • EcoCor – Prefab Passive House
  • Aerobarrier – Automated Air-Sealing System
  • Vital Vio – Bacteria-killing LED light Technology
  • Next Energy Technologies – Solar Energy Window Coating
  • University of Maryland – Lightweight Insulating Wood Material
  • Covestro – PUReWall
  • Phase Change Energy Solutions – ENRG Blanket
  • Randek – ZeroLabor Robotic System
  • COVE.TOOL – Building cost / performance program
  • 5D Robotics – Automated Construction Equipment
  • Doxel – Construction Management Tool
  • Triax Technologies – Worker Safety Devices
  • Blue Print Robotics – Tech-driven Panel Fabrication
  • Built Robotics – Autonomous Construction Equipment

Capital: Resources, costs and value flowing through housing investment

  • RBH Group – Affordable Housing Social Investor
  • Dweller – Affordable Turnkey Solution for ADUs
  • Fifth Wall – Venture Capitalism focused on Real Estate
  • Propy – Digital Real Estate Exchange Software
  • OpenDoor – Home Trade-in Program
  • ArborCrowd – Crowdfunding Platform for Multifamily projects
  • Brick & Mortar Ventures – Investment Firm
  • Cadre – Technology-enabled Real Estate Investment Platform
  • Swytch – Blockchain-based Sustainability Tracker

Design: Architecture, planning and engineering better homes and communities

  • Enterprise Community Partners – Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute
  • David Baker Architects – FIVE88 Affordable Apartments
  • Pyatok Architects – Vibrant Communities through Urban Design
  • GDS Architects – LifeArk Resilient Housing
  • Houselets – Low Cost, modular housing and workspace units
  • Tom Burbec – Living Building Challenge certified farmhouse

Intel: Insight tools to identify, acquire, serve and retain customers, determine project viability and assign value

  • Delos – DARWIN Residential Wellness Intelligence Network
  • Eyrus – Management Software for the Construction Industry
  • Kensho – Economic Mapping Program
  • NYU – City Health Dashboard
  • Corelogic – Provider of Storm Surge Risk Analytics
  • LStar Ventures – Union Point Sustainable Community
  • Uplight Data Partners – Drone Service Provider for the Construction Industry

Strategy: Business models, processes and practices to create and manage change

  • Module – Expandable, Affordable Homes
  • StarCity – Affordable Dorm-Style Housing
  • Blokable – Modular Housing Development
  • Clayton Homes – Designer Cottages / Tiny Homes
  • Ashton Woods – Starlight Communities for Entry-Level Buyers
  • Pulte – Altus at the Quarter smart community
  • AirBNB – Friendly Buildings Multifamily Program
  • Kitson and Partners – Babcock Ranch Sustainable Community
  • Five Point Communities – Newhall Ranch
  • Landed – Homeownership Program for Teachers
  • Housing Innovation Lab – Boston Housing Affordability Plan

We're celebrating these efforts, initiatives, game-changers, and audacious investments and commitments knowing some of them won't succeed and get up and running; knowing some of them are bound to fail; knowing some of them are ahead of their time, or not practical at scale.

So what? We need them and we need to salute them for two reasons. Housing can not continue to be looked at as an anachronism, a business that does things "the way we've always done things," a business and industry sector that serves fewer and fewer households and gets told "no" to more and more of its proposals to build more.

We need people, and companies, and fiendishly brilliant new models that don't take "no" or "we can't" as the final answer. That's why we need you to be part of Hive's exciting conversation, its purpose, and its investment in housing's future.

That's why we want you to come to Austin. Be there. Take part. Reignite the Dream.