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 "safe zone". All done before the project embarks upon detail design, so as the client, or tenant you know what you want, and what you are signing up to build, before the design moves into the expense of detailed design and construction, that is before errors and omissions become expensive.
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, allowing all of the business' users to walk through the fully immersive VR spaces that you and your people as users have helped to co-design with our designers, testing them for functionality and feeding back any residual issues or improvements.
Doing things in this way allows the Agile in Buildings process to de-risk the entire procurement of your new building, getting all stakeholders at all levels of the client organisation and professional team to a common understanding faster, locking in lower budget costs and eliminating late changes. All directed towards defining better certainty of outcome, building user ownership, so you as client can have the confidence that the entire organisation who will use your new work-spaces will love them, and be better in them.
If you don't do Agile in Buildings, and are happy to defer the detailed thinking to just your architect you can rightly still assume you will get a great building. The difference is if you do Agile, you will know you will get 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
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.