Rethink the role of your surroundings: What can you achieve using our simple, structured approach to improving your built environment?
Three steps we’ve learned for creating more innovative and productive spaces.
A recent review of Co-DB’s work with clients past and present has revealed a particular appreciation for our straightforward and structured strategic consultation approach. This early stage of collaborative design has been developed together with clients and end-users, over years in practice as a way of structuring collective thinking and decision making around change.
Step 1 - Think about what to keep
When we begin a consultation with any client, we start with what the current space offers: why it is the way it is.
A crucial part of understanding what you need is seeing what elements of your current situation already work well for you. What do you know is regularly beneficial, and is there anything about it that you might be able to replicate elsewhere?
What doesn’t work?
Understanding what isn’t working about a space can highlight what is. Addressing the source of issues or problems can help to understand what needs to change.
Step 2 - Understand what to add
Our clients come to us because they are ready to make a change - to innovate and improve their built environment and how they use it. There is already a recognition at some level that change is required. This might be because of a decision to change a service, an external or internal change in circumstances, or simply a recognition that things could be better.
The questions you have considered about the existing space, will allow you to begin the process of imagining how your new space will answer your needs. One helpful way to explore these is by looking at other examples of similar spaces, and seeing what it is that makes them work well. These examples may or may not be connected directly to what you do, but they can provide a springboard from which new ideas can be explored, and allow us to consider how things might be done differently and why.
This second stage helps to develop and instill a collaborative and creative way of working. Once developed, this in turn encourages communication, and a willingness and ability to make adjustments and changes in response to evolving needs.
Step 3 - Be open to future change
With the collaborative approach instilled and developed through Stages 1 and 2, this third stage can look quite different, but it can be the most playful and fun. However, it is still vitally important to the long term effectiveness of change.
What needs to be flexible?
Step 3 is for the big ideas, the dreams of what might happen and where you might want to go in the future. It’s about acknowledging that results are rarely perfect first time, and enabling yourself to continue to benefit from the creative process of change. Think big, and consider how your ambitions might impact your need for ongoing flexibility and adaptation.
One design strategy has some elements that are fixed and some that move, so that you can adjust the space over time; another sets clear guidance for seamlessly adding in new components down the line. This will open up an organisation to unknown further changes, setting up the idea that change will happen, as opposed to the idea of finishishing a fixed, completed whole.
Giving a structure to this initial process allows us to break down an otherwise daunting challenge and provide a more accessible way of collectively approaching and benefiting from change. It makes it easier to bring in different stakeholders at different stages of the design and build process, using a variety of creative techniques that best match their ways of working.
If you'd like help with facilitating a discussion or some consultation to decide how to best innovate and improve your built environment, get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone on 0208 558 1175 or on social media.