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Practice of Architecture | 2017/12/12

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Contract Magazine

Championing the Client Interview, With Full Firm Involvement

2017/11/02 |

Architecture and design firms undertake myriad business development activities, but they often do not spend adequate time preparing for project interviews. Knowing that the interview is an open invitation for the firm to present itself and pitch its expertise and … Read More

Why Architects/Designers Should Never Lower Their Fees

2017/07/25 |

While attending the American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Convention in Philadelphia in May 2016, I had an interesting conversation with several peers regarding the pricing of our professional services.

As a strategist for the firm MKThink, I noted that … Read More

Five Steps Toward Knowledge Leadership

2017/07/03 |

I was recently at dinner with three friends: a hospitality architect, an interior designer with a portfolio focused on workplace, and a computer scientist. When our non-designer friend asked the designers at the table if we would ever design our … Read More

Strategic Services as a Tide to Lift All Boats

2017/06/26 |

Upon meeting a new colleague in the design profession, or even reuniting with an old friend to talk shop, I often find myself having a recurring conversation about strategic services. I enjoy the discussion because it is often an opportunity … Read More

Rethinking Practice Through Business Model Innovation

2017/06/20 |

Architecture and interior design firms need to evolve to survive. This has been my personal ethos since before I entered business school in 2008, and I continue to look for new methods, case studies, and opportunities to have conversations about … Read More

Implementing a SWOT Analysis for Savvy Decision-Making

2017/06/13 |

Earlier this year, I led a half-day exercise with more than 50 national elected leaders of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) at one of the AIA Strategic Council assemblies. The starting point for the day was a strengths, weaknesses, … Read More

Building a Purpose-drive Practice

2016/06/26 |

When analyzing the shortcomings of a design firm’s business model, I often see parallels between designers and artists. In many cases, we tend to undervalue our services to ensure that we are still able to create our craft, or complete … Read More

As Designers, Where Do We Find Purpose?

2016/03/02 |

With the Great Recession behind us, design professionals find themselves in an interesting state of change within the economy. The billings indexes for architecture and interior design firms are surpassing previous landmark months in 2007. Unemployment is extremely low, and there has been a clear shift to an employee-driven marketplace in which hiring those with 10 to 15 years of experience often requires a negotiation. Clients’ interest in sustainability grows in the midst of crises, including the California drought and other market pressures. And, we have seen a huge jump in interest in what is known as public interest design, or design for impact.

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Structuring the Stakeholder Engagement Process to Drive Better Design

2015/10/07 |

As a designer, engaging with all key stakeholders on a given project—the client; the client’s key decision makers, such as facilities and human resources leadership; and real estate professionals involved with a project—may be viewed either as cumbersome and time consuming or as an opportunity to create better outcomes. Embracing the latter in a strategic way often achieves greater consensus for a project throughout the design process. However, in order to make it meaningful to the participants, the client, and the design team, you have to ask the right questions, distinguish definite needs from wants, and ensure that everyone—not just the one with the loudest voice—has an opportunity to participate in the discussion.

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Implementing Data in Practice: A Profit Opportunity

2015/06/01 |

Initial client meetings often set the stage for the remainder of a project. What are the client’s vision, mission, and goals? What do they hope to accomplish with this project? More importantly, how did they develop the initial program that … Read More