10 ideas learned from startup’s about how building design must change;

1 – We often want to use a number of trusted individuals rather than one big company. Get used to collaborating with different professionals project by project. Ensure you have different and relevant skills and work with them as partners. Blend your skills together to raise the value of your service.

2 – Stop being the high and mighty designer you’ve somehow been taught to be. Learn that other people, yes even those without a design degree have much to offer.

3 –Your work has to be built so be pragmatic. Work with a contractor instead just hoping they can ‘sort it out’ for you at the end. Spend six months with a builder. Go on site with your builder. See what works and what doesn’t.

4 – Design ‘with’ and not just ‘for’ clients. We want to be involved. Didn’t you know everyone is a designer these days?

5 – Change the way you work with each new client, or better still each project with the same client. If they wanted ‘process’ they wouldn’t need a designer would they? Challenge yourself to think differently each time. You’re supposed to be a creative.

6 – Don’t spend a fortune on advertising. It rarely works. Instead spend the money on talking over time with people you’d really like to work with. Eventually some will come to you for help and the bonus is you already know them inside out.

7 – If you’re designing for now, then you’ve already missed the mark. Design for tomorrow. Scenario-plan what might be next in your clients business or organisation. 

8 – Design for your clients, not for you designer peers. I can’t stand the ring-fenced ‘this is mine’ intellectualism of the design professions. Its not about you, its about your customers and their business. Making them successful should be your ticket to future work.

9 – Most interior design is not about those few flawless interiors in the magazines. Most is about space that works. What if your website showcased a series of photos of the same space and how it successfully adapted to change over 12 months. That would be way more effective in selling your skills to me.

10 – You’ll find yourself working with clients who are already having a go at a project before they’ve contacted you. This is the nature of start-ups of course. You do everything yourself until you can afford specialist help for specific tasks. Get used to dipping in and out making an effective difference. Get used to not having absolute control. When was the last time you had that anyway?

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