In sharing our insight about the business of design and construction, we advance the larger conversation about industry trends.

Can’t Somebody Just Make A Decision?

Design firms are busy and growing at a pace we haven’t seen for many years.  Competition for talent seems to be more difficult than competition for clients and projects.  This is one of those “good problems” the industry prefers.

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Five New Years Resolutions for A/E/C Leaders

Most design and construction firms are enjoying robust revenues, profits, and backlogs as we begin 2017. Many companies are growing at a record pace, now thriving after surviving the Great Recession a few years ago. It looks like good times will continue in the new year, but uncertainty lies ahead. What’s brewing with the economic, political, and social ingredients we mixed in 2016?

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Designing Your Client Experience

Why do you buy coffee at Starbuck’s, or buy shoes from Zappos? You can get a fine cup of coffee or a good pair of shoes elsewhere, and probably for less. If you’re a customer of Starbuck’s or Zappos – or Ritz-Carlton, Disney World, Lexus, Singapore Airlines, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, or Nordstrom – you’re probably there because of the legendary service experiences these companies create for their customers.

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Want to improve your firm’s go/no go process?

Monday, 9:30 AM. It’s time for the weekly Monday morning marketing meeting and you and your partners gather in the conference room. Discussion begins and quickly turns to the Go/No Go decisions on the table. Two are strong prospects—you have great relationships with the clients, you have been positioning your firm for months, and you have exactly the right relevant experience. The discussion is quick and painless.

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Building a Rainforest Firm: Lessons from Silicon Valley

Your design firm can step up its game by adopting a few principles that make Silicon Valley the world’s most productive center for innovation.

As an architect, I’ve always been focused on creating firms and project teams that can draw the best talent and do the best work. A friend recently recommended a book that provides a great model. We know that rainforests are the most diverse, fertile and biologically productive places on earth – so how can we achieve the same qualities in a design firm? + Read More

Mergers & Acquisitions: Why design firms shouldn’t ignore them

If you were to ask the opinion of a practicing architect about the recent spate of acquisitions of large U.S. architecture firms, most would say that these acquisitions don’t have any effect on their firms. There is a common belief that what is happening ‘out there’ at the mega-firm level is an exception, and has no relevance to mainstream design practices.

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Keeping the magic in a creative organization

You know it when you see it: a creative team that always delivers amazing work, a group whose performance is consistently greater than the sum of its parts.

There’s an inventiveness and exuberance that surprises you, even when you know the team well and have developed high expectations. The people are prolific. They work hard, sacrificing their own time and interests when the job demands it. They obviously love what they do and love working with each other. It shows.

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Making real change, or just rearranging the chairs?

It’s popular to be a champion of change. We see it every day in politics, businesses, and institutions. At a personal level, we’re all aware of the pace of change around us and privately hoping that we can keep up. We hear “Change or die.” We see successes and failures. We all want to be agents for positive change in things that matter to us. + Read More

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