Posted: November 11th, 2009 | Author: Jane Gaboury | Filed under: Best Practices, Strategy, Technology, Uncategorized | Tags: business, innovation, NBBJ | No Comments »
We were delighted to read the December issue of IOMA’s Principal’s Report, which contains the first published review of our new book Change Design: Conversations About Architecture as the Ultimate Business Tool (2nd Ed.).
“Every so often a publication comes along that completely transforms your idea of what a book could be. Change Design: Conversations About Architecture as the Ultimate business Tool (2nd Ed.) is just such a book on several levels,” writes editor Ernie Burden.
He goes on to praise it as “an exceptional example of graphics and photography” but notes that it “transcends being simply an exercise in design and photography.”
The book highlights the role of design and innovation in transforming businesses and organizations. We couldn’t agree more with Burden’s assessment that it makes a great addition to your library.
Posted: February 17th, 2009 | Author: Jonathan Bahe | Filed under: Best Practices, Economy, Leadership, Professional practice, Strategy | Tags: innovation | 5 Comments »
In an April 2008 interview published in The McKinsey Quarterly, Pixar’s Oscar-winning director Brad Bird speaks about the strategic imperative of involving his staff, particularly those outside the traditional decision-making circle, in creating innovative strategies for success. “I would say that involved people make for better innovation,” he states. “Passionate involvement can make you happy sometimes, and miserable other times. You want people to be involved and engaged. Involved people can be quiet, loud, or anything in-between - what they have in common is a restless, probing nature: ‘I want to get to the problem. There’s something I want to do.’”
It is this sense of involvement in creating an innovative culture that world-class firms are beginning to embrace in the A/E/C industry. Ranging from design teams composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds of varying levels of experience to cutting-edge approaches to integrated project delivery - and everything in between - firms are only beginning to explore the fringes of what innovation truly means. In fact, I would argue that many firms that position themselves as innovative are in fact creating change, not innovation.
I believe that true innovation causes meaningful transformation from a social, economic, or process perspective. Programs such as Public Architecture’s, The 1%, and Architecture for Humanity, have created innovative approaches to addressing the social impact architects and designers can have on individuals and communities. Firms such as KieranTimberlake continue to explore innovative means of construction and fabrication through a dedication to research and development outside of the traditional architectural realm.
As the economic condition remains grim for the coming months, leading firms are using this time to reexamine current practices and position themselves to become true innovators within the marketplace. They understand that to be competitive in both a down economy and the new economy that will emerge, it is strategically essential for not only to embrace innovation but to practice it. They realize that to attract and retain the best clients and the best staff, they need to create an internal culture that fosters innovation.
Fortunately for professional practices, academic institutions across the country continue to explore, discuss, teach, and research truly innovative means and methods of representation, design, construction, and professional practice. Their graduates have begun to develop resources and knowledge about innovative practices and projects across the globe and are anxious to explore these in the framework of the reality of practice - even if this practice doesn’t look like the practice of today. Young leaders - and potential leaders - in firms struggle to find a balance between their personal desire to innovate and a healthy respect for and desire to learn about the realities of professional practice. While many of them are beginning to see the strategic imperative to innovate, they are often not in a position to lead this type of meaningful change in the culture of a firm.
If the leaders of professional practices see the strategic imperative of becoming innovative partners with their clients in the future, they will also begin to see the necessity of engaging young professionals in this change. These young professionals will lead transformation and innovation; there is no doubt about it. The choice is where they lead it. Is it your firm or somewhere else?