Saturday, November 30, 2013

Everyone is Practicing Integrative Design or At Least That’s What They Say!

In an article published by Barbra Batshalom on her blog at Sustainable Performance Institute, she questions whether design firms are practicing in an integrative manner or just writing and talking about it. When framed in the context of green building design she recognizes the importance of integrative design process in creating green buildings and challenges firms to question – “how green is your process?” Perhaps most importantly then is the question- what are the indicators of that process?
This article and its questions strikes and reinforces many themes on a variety of topics in many design process improvement conversations.There are a couple of key points to take away and further engage in that conversation.
First is the importance of design process in the realization of design outcomes.  As she says “there is a heightened awareness that design process itself determines the success and cost effectiveness of implementing green building and using rating systems.”
Second is the appreciation that there are many clear indicators of a “dis-integrated” team process. I’m sure many designers have experienced some indicators and you could reflect on these items that are cited so that they can become things we all seek to change and improve.
Third, and most importantly, are some of the clear indicators of teams that are engaged in an integrative design process. What are some of these signs?
~ You are pushed out of your comfort zone.
~ You are asked for your input on a wide range of issues.
~ The expectations of your work are clear and detailed.
~ Other people’s work is dependent on your work.
~ Interaction of the group inspires creativity.
~ You feel more respected and valued with a higher level of pride in the outcome.
~ The work process is clearly mapped and decisions are made in a transparent manner.
~ Innovative solutions are encouraged.
~ Client/stakeholders decision makers are involved in a significant way.
Barbra summarizes a challenge in the end of the blog with the following quote.
The first step in assuring your proficiency as an integrative designer is to pay particular attention to your own indicators – if you are reflective about your participation and the participation of others in the group, and look for quantifiable feedback that evaluates the collaborative nature of the process, you have a much higher chance of success.”
Simply stated you have to work at it but you also must feel it.