It is always good to remind ourselves of the motives that drive us. We did that this week by asking everyone to sum up in a post-it note word the ambition for the year. A rich and diverse range of words appeared splitting roughly into two camps - the aspirational and the technical. Under aspirational we had; ideas, progressive, nimble, give, zeal, explore, resilience, thoughtful, special, digest, Geddes, holistic, transmit, reprocess, origin, sight, fun, mediate, believe and protect. Whilst under technical we had clarity, care, rigour, precision, and craftsmanship.
Which brought to mind anyone who, has watched the progress of the British Cycling team cannot fail to be impressed by the minute attention to detail in the processes of delivering a winning team. Nothing has been left unturned in the pursuit of milliseconds of improvement. At a technical level the bikes, the equipment, the fabric of the clothing, to lessen air resistance, at a physiological level the hygiene of competitors generally and the comfort of their own bedding and pillows to reduce time lost due to illness, at a sociological level ensuring that tickets and accommodation for competitor's families were sorted so that nothing got in the way of their preparations - and that is the smallest snapshot.
There are lessons there for all businesses and architectural practice is no different, by asking how we can make the context within which we practice more effective for the delivery of out art.
Looking at our operational backcloth it is worth noting a number of the so called technical facets we are seeking to hone in the spirit of the British Cycling team, 'futures' where we speculate on where the issues lie, 'resources' the perennial problem irrespective of good or tough times, what we call 'Design Support' where we road test our management techniques through QMS (Quality Management Systems) assessments, 'design reviews', database, CAD (Computer Aided Design) policy, CPD (Continuing Professional Development), sustainability, specification and importantly CDM with the associated Health and Safety procedures.
Balancing this reminder of what we have to cover to practice effectively is nurturing of our what we call our Design Vision and Culture in our 'Thinking' through the Monday-word and seminars, re-engaging with the world and understanding of initial client needs through 'briefing' and expression and dissemination of our vision through the website.
So when we voted at the end as to what are our common goal and vision was the spoils were shared between the technical and the vision.
On the technical side 'clarity' came out on top with 6 votes and 'care' with 4 and on the vision side 'holistic' led with 5 followed closely by 'thoughtfulness' on 4 nominations.
Overall though, 'fun' came out on top with 7 votes.