USER CENTRIC DESIGN AND AGILE METHODS

We believe the considerable investment made in a new or refurbished building should deliver more than just a static built asset. Acting at an organisational or cultural level, your new workplace building could do so much more to support the growth stack of your organisation; that strategic set of corporate tools which serve to generate employee productivity, effectiveness and bottom line profitability. To achieve this architects and developers need to do more to involve clients as customers so they become included from the beginning in the process of shaping their new places.

 

To facilitate greater customer involvement, we conceived Agile in Buildings, a methodology to allow everyone in the customer's business to lead the big thinking about what they want (and what they don't want) from their new workplaces; then contribute in the creation of the designs that enable customer experience and building performance to go hand in hand with business or organisational performance. 

 

Where it comes from and how Agile works

Agile Methods is not new.   It was invented in the 1970's by IBM as a way to make sure that products included the features that customers actually wanted (and so would sell), and not those designers assumed they wanted.  Roll on 50 years and the whole of the product and software development industries are using Agile Methods, except that is - the property industry.  We want to change this. Our specially adapted for architectural design Agile in Buildings process has four steps, all of which happen in the brief development stage of the new project:

Step 1. Gather Users ideas

We have lots of ways to gather your ideas. From surveys, to smart apps, to carefully facilitated charettes, so we can find out what your business does and what kind of spaces will help your people to work more effectively. 

Step 2. Sift the ideas into the big stories

Once we have all of the ideas from the top to bottom of the business, we analysis them to find out what the key messages are, how you go about making profit, and what the big obstacles are - that a new building will help to solve.

Step 3. Co-design with Users

With the core messages and big problems understood we sit with your key people to co-design the early stage concepts for the building. This is where the process gets interesting, and for the most part fun as we move beyond the design norms to unleash the power of collective ideas of the organisation to inform a better, more refined version of the built requirement. One that ultimately aligns people, process and place in the search for a better, more purposeful outcome for the project.

Step 4. Road test the Brief/Designs

Using the full and awesome power of VR it becomes possible to mock up the new designs into fully immersive prototypes for everyone right across the business or organisation to walk through and test,  to provide feedback and iteration, to improve it while ironing out the creases in what becomes a virtual reality the "safe zone".  All before embarking upon detail design, so as the client, or tenant you know what you are signing up to build, before design  goes to detail, as opposed to after you get the keys and move in.

Build a common understanding

Our Agile in Buildings with VR process is normally carried out in the first six to nine weeks of the project's design period, leading to a common understanding about what to build before the technical thinking of how to build.

 

Doing things in this way allows the Agile in Buildings process to de-risk the entire procurement of your new building, getting everyone to a common understanding faster, locking in lower budget costs and eliminating late changes, all directed towards defining what needs happen to deliver more certainty of outcome, faster. Building in the confidence that the entire organisation who will use the new workspaces will love it, and be better in it. 

If you don't do Agile in Buildings, and are happy to defer the business strategic thinking to your architect and c-suite you will still think you are getting a great building. The difference is if you do Agile, you will know you are getting a great building, one that is optimised to deliver maximum value and return on investment for the capital or lease finance you are putting in.

Be sure to check out our case studies and videos on the page opposite and below.

A user on one of our case studies preparing to take a tour through the re-imagined spaces that she helped to design.

Check out our latest case study video below:  to find out how Agile in Buildings  works

CASE STUDY 1

Cemetery Road Baptist Church  engaged in our Agile Methods process to re-imagine what a modern church needs to be. Nowadays, CRBC are looking at ways to stay relevant to their community.  Modern UK life is more secular. The CRBC response has been to assist ethnic migrant Christians coming to the UK. But now they are asking "What about our local communities?" How can we connect with them to establish relevance against the backdrop of declining membership in modern more secular society. 

View Case Study        View Video

    Cemetery Road, Sheffield

CASE STUDY 2

In this case study we worked with Kollider Music, and its future tenant customers Barclays Eagle Labs, TMI The Writers collective to create a new destination for writers, musicians and producers of music. The project was a critical component of the success of the Kollider venture in Sheffield to bring a tech innovation hub to the city.

Nothing like this has ever existed anywhere else in the UK. A place where writers, artists, technicians, and media creatives can work together in spaces that help them to do what they do better. Using Agile, we sparked something that all involved thought was truly special.

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    Kollider 1, Castle House

Experience your plans before you bring them to life

Check out our video to see how Agile in Building helped Hippo Digital develop their new office plans then experience them before they were built.