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It has been the common practice for home buyers to design and provide personal touches to the interior of the unit of their new homes – until today. In this era of technology where the property development journey has progressed exponentially, clients now demand more innovative products to meet their greater expectations and refined sense of aesthetics.

In response to consumer demands and to remain competitive, top developers are now spearheading greater innovation and are boosting client engagement by allowing buyers to influence the design of their homes before they are even built.

Below are a couple of the latest innovations in the market, namely home Customisation and Co-Creation, which we will further explain what they are and the differences between them both.

Home Customisation

Home Customisation is a concept that has come and gone in the property market, and then come back again. Recently re-entering the market and gaining traction again amid a community of growing awareness, and the increasing demand from homebuyers to have more control over the design and appearance of their new home.

Home Customisation allows buyers to choose from the layout options provided and put together their preferred combination before their homes are built.

Under home Customisation, developers will offer a fixed set of layout/furnishing options from which committed buyers can choose from – and this only applies to their purchased units. Additionally, the facilities within the development are also pre-set by the developer.

Examples of new projects where buyers can customise their units are Sunway Grid by Sunway Group in Iskandar Puteri, EcoWorld’s Regent Garden in Eco Grandeur and Sencilia in Eco Sanctuary. Both EcoWorld’s projects are under the Design2OWN campaign.

In the aforementioned projects, property developers presented their buyers with options of layouts to select from. These developers, together with their team of architects and designers decide on the layout options for buyers to select for their own individual units. This concept is called Customisation.

New Concept on the Block - Co-Creation

Moving forward to today, the concept has taken another step forward – with Co-Creation. Building on the concept of Customisation, Co-Creation provides property buyers with much more flexibility.

This Co-Creation concept is trailblazing the way forward, where property buyers will now not only have a say in how they would like the units in the development to look like, but will also have a say in what facilities they would like to have in the development.

The uniqueness of this idea is that, not only will the voices of the property buyers be heard, voices of the public will carry weight as well in the design of the development, and its facilities. All who decide to participate in the creation of the development – whether they are a buyer or not – will have a say in what should be in the common areas, whether there should be a park or themed garden, a Jacuzzi or a salt water pool, and the list goes on. Empowering the community, the most voted design elements will be constructed.

Unveiled on 15th January 2019, the pioneer of this ingenious innovation is Sime Darby Property. Their Co-Creation project is called dto, pronounced as ditto, and is short for “Determine the Outcome”.

While relatively new in the market, the dto team has worked hard on the Co-Creation concept, to create the most value for customers. In the spirit of Co-Creation, the dto team continues to better the dto platform through direct engagement with their users (secret dto meet-ups).

In these meetings, they invite active dto users – individuals not from the company – to discuss and provide feedback on the platform. By gaining the input of the public this way, they ensure that they really engage with dto users both online and offline in a masterplan to give the power back to the community.

The Creation of dto

According to dto’s co-founders, Marie Leong and Ee Lynn Tee, they are constantly listening and evolving dto based on comments from users. The best feedback they received was that dto co-creators really enjoy customer empowerment, as well as the engaging user experience dto brings to the table and the privilege to be part of a bigger community of co-creators who wants to make a positive difference in the property industry, even if they are not in the property industry.

“We take all our customers’ constructive feedback seriously and work behind the scenes to see how we can improve.” For instance, they implemented a comment and feedback feature after conducting a survey on what areas can be improved on dto. Users also mentioned that they would like to contribute more ideas pertaining to a specific Co-Creation or preference gathering stage.

Another positive feedback was where the community wanted to be more involved in the planning and design of community spaces. And this is how dto ventured from property projects to its first community space - a townpark, in just 10 months since the platform was launched.

dto currently has five projects. The first is a high-rise mixed-use development in Subang Jaya. The second is an affordable high-rise residential project near the Putra Heights LRT Station. The third is the platform’s first landed project, located in the City of Elmina. The fourth is the said community space, a 100-acre townpark in Bandar Bukit Raja, while the fifth project is dto’s first Mini Project and is sited within Serenia City.

What Property Experts Are Saying About Co-Creation

Approaching the leaders of the property industry, below are their two cents on the dto concept.

Datuk Christopher Boyd, Executive Chairman of Savills Malaysia, lauded Sime Darby Property’s new development concept as a smart, progressive and welcome move. He is of the opinion that the input from architects is derived from a relatively narrow design experience and not from the market, while feedback from the sales team sometimes doesn’t accurately convey what home buyers really want.

Meanwhile, Khalil Adis, Director at Khalil Adis Consultancy, opines that co-created projects will appeal to the younger generation. “I believe this will become more popular as the younger generation are quite vocal and want to have a say in the design of the property they are living in. On the flip side, the older generation may prefer a property that is functional and will look at the overall construction quality rather than the aesthetics.”

He is also of the opinion that the platform is a step in the right direction as it empowers consumers to decide on the outcome of the design of their desired homes.

“By crowdsourcing on what is popular among consumers, it helps to appeal to the desired target audience which may lead to higher take-up rates. This is especially pertinent where an oversupply of homes has been plaguing the Malaysian property market.”

Adding his opinion to the mix, Dr. Daniele Gambero, CEO of REI Group of Companies says that co-created projects could increase home buyer satisfaction to at least 80 percent as buyers are given a chance to voice out their ideas and requests in regard to their dream home.

He estimates that customer satisfaction in the property market is at under 60 percent for a typical development as buyers previously had no other choice but to purchase what is available, and many developers had failed to listen to the market demands.

When approached, Tan Mei Xin, General Manager of, is highly optimistic about the Co-Creation concept as well. When asked her opinion of whether she thought Co-Creation or Customisation is better for the public, she advocated the idea of Co-Creation.

“With Co-Creation, customers get to have a say in spaces that they traditionally will not have a say in, from preferred facilities, to building design and facade. Co-Creation is unique as it gets feedback from the community from the very beginning, pre-development.”

Tan is also of the opinion that if dto works, more developers will want to hop on the bandwagon – but that Sime Darby Property will always remain the pioneer, and enjoy first mover advantage in this area.

Perks of Being The Trailblazer

dto is a truly unique concept. Traditionally, if you are not of the industry or within the industry, you do not get to have a say in property developments. It will typically be a group of property experts at the round table who may or may not be a buyer making all the decisions for the development of the property. Now with dto, thousands of Malaysians are able to give their input on what their ideal property should be like, and play a part in this decision making process.

With dto, the power is returned to the masses. dto is a Co-Creation concept that engages with Malaysians for their ideas on the development. And the development will be built based on the decision of the mass majority. Developers will no longer build based on what they think buyers want, they will be building homes based on what they know buyers want.

Buyers will be able to voice their preferences on what they want for a home – facade, colour scheme, landscape design, facilities, the interior design of the facilities, tile design and colours, furnishings, sanitary fittings – all of this and more, all the way down to doorknob designs.

All these selections are carefully curated and vetted by the experts of the industry, architects, and engineers to ensure that every selection is safe and properly regulated. This will also ensure that the end result will be a beautiful melding of ideas that came together perfectly.

“We envision the day where Malaysians will say, ‘Eh better not buy that property if you haven’t dto-ed it,’” they added, a future where property buyers will not buy a property if their voices have not been heard. “We see the dto-way being the norm in the future, which means we have successfully disrupted the property industry and elevated the standards of living for Malaysians.”

The public may anticipate more exciting things from dto in 2020, dto will be evolving from Co-Creation and preference gathering to something bigger, something more inclusive for the community.

To learn more about the Co-Creation concept, visit Stay tuned for more ideas on dto’s projects in our next article.

(18 December 2019)


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Jessica 01116570010 from Sotiras Design & Construction (1202825-U) Sdn Bhd located in Setia Alam, Selangor

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sounds cool and interesting compare to tranditional one.

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Interesting article.