Minority Report: What Drives Success in Architects? January 31, 2014Posted by randydeutsch in books, career, education, employment, survival, the economy.
Tags: AEC industry, AIA, Amy Chua, architect, architecture, construction, contractors, Daniel Pink, Drive, engineers, intrinsic rewards, motivation, NCARB, New York Times, Tiger mom, Triple package, What Drives Success, work-life balance
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There’s education, training, taking the exam.
Retaking the exam and licensure.
Then, once you’ve become an architect, it’s hard to remain one.
And there are so many forces that seem to work against you.
The economy. Fickle clients. Work/life imbalance. The hours. Competition…
I don’t need to spell them all out (because you know them all too well, and Roger K. Lewis has done so here.)
So what does it take to succeed at architecture?
To become and be an architect?
In the airport returning from the AIA 2014 Emerging Professional Summit in Albuquerque, I came across an article in The New York Times, What Drives Success?
The article was written by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, husband/wife professors at Yale Law School and authors of the forthcoming book “The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.”
I want to focus on one point: What the author’s call the Triple Package.
About a third of the way through the article they write:
It turns out that for all their diversity, the strikingly successful groups in America today share three traits that, together, propel success.
The authors then go on to describe each of the three traits:
The first is a superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality. The second appears to be the opposite — insecurity, a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough. The third is impulse control.
The article – and the book it is based on – talks about cultural groups – not professions – but hear me out.
Let’s break out these three traits:
- superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality
- insecurity — a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough
- impulse control — the ability to resist temptation
Wouldn’t you know, these traits not only – as the authors state – describe successful ethnic, religious and national-origin groups, but they also accurately describe architects.
Let’s look at the traits one at a time.
Architects have a superiority complex. They’ve survived the tribunal of education, studio culture, and finding, negotiating and doing projects. They have design thinking and other transferable skills that everyone’s clamoring for on their side. They represent both paying clients and a non-paying one: society-at-large. They’ve put in the time and paid their dues. You would think architects have a right to think highly of themselves.
Architects are insecure. As a profession, architects justifiably feel insecure when compared with other professional groups such as doctors and lawyers, who appreciatively are paid a great deal more for the time they put in and the work they do. Architects are beholden to owners who – on a dime – can stop projects that are progressing in their tracks for reasons having to do with actuaries and their pro forma – things architects know little about. Architects are engaged at the whim of an economy that they can’t influence and have little chance of predicting.
But how can architects be simultaneously superior and insecure?
Let’s look at the first two traits:
superiority complex — a deep-seated belief in their exceptionality
insecurity — a feeling that you or what you’ve done is not good enough
As the article acknowledges:
It’s odd to think of people feeling simultaneously superior and insecure. Yet it’s precisely this unstable combination that generates drive: a chip on the shoulder, a goading need to prove oneself.
Many people who work and/or live with architects will recognize them in that description.
So how does impulse control fit into the mix? Again, the article:
Add impulse control — the ability to resist temptation — and the result is people who systematically sacrifice present gratification in pursuit of future attainment.
The only architects I know who suffer from impulsiveness are those who are impulsively driven to work harder and longer to achieve more.
Looking at impulsivity in another way: Knowing that it can take years before they see their designs built, architects have no trouble passing the Marshmallow Test.
The article’s authors go on to admit a truism that could not apply to architects more:
We know that group superiority claims are specious and dangerous, yet every one of America’s most successful groups tells itself that it’s exceptional in a deep sense.
Architects, deep down, know they are exceptional.
In fact, I recently posted this in another blog acknowledging as much:
Recognizing that nothing incites a non-architect’s derision, ridicule and ire swifter than to start a sentence “The architect is uniquely qualified to…” here are six qualities that make architects ideally suited to lead collaborative, integrated teams.
That’s Architectural Exceptionalism: which states that architects are unusual (check) and extraordinary (check) in some way and thus do not need to conform to normal rules or general principles.
Others are taken-aback when you point out that any group is exceptional in any way, as I learned myself, when several readers contacted me about the post above suggesting I substitute the word facilitator for the word leader.
One advised me: “No one wants to hear that the architect is the leader.”
Are architects a minority group?
We’re in agreement that architects are in the minority.
Architects, of course, make up a tiny fraction of the AEC industry.
There are 1.5 million employed engineers in the US.
The number of architects licensed in the United States?
Three quarters of these (74%) practice in architecture firms.
In fact, there are as many construction companies in Texas and California as there are architects in the US.
And there are 7,316,240 construction company employees in the US.
So, architects are in the minority.
But are architects being in the minority the same thing as being a minority?
Can architects explain their success in terms of their minority status?
These success traits very well may have implications for a more diverse profession.
But the question remains:
Is it possible that part of what makes architects successful is that they see themselves as a minority?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Tags: AEC, AIA, architects, architectural education, architecture, emerging professionals, EPs, innovation, problem solving, professional practice, t-shaped people, wired to care
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Recognizing that it is artificial and arbitrary to clump any demographic into a group, generally speaking, EPs bring a lot more than energy and imagination to the table.
Emerging professionals have a lot to offer firm leaders.
That is, if firm leaders would only take notice.
What gifts can EPs offer more senior architects and firm leaders?
Here are five that have made a difference in my life:
1. EPs are Wired to Care
EPs can help cynical, skeptical and burned-out architects to care again.
To care about people: building owners, users, neighbors, constituents.
About the environment.
And about design.
They may not always express it, but firm leaders who deal with clients, legal and insurance matters often need your enthusiasm and interest in the work you’re doing to remind them why they stay in the game – and why they’re in the game to begin with.
You remind them of who they once were – and soon hope to return to being.
You’re the thread to their former selves.
2. EPs are Collaborative T-shaped People
Not T for Technology.
But as in broad knowledge and deep expertise.
EPs, curious types, certainly bring their range of interests to the office.
Absolutely. Though not the old school form of expertise – acquired slowly over time.
Or whom to ask.
EPs recognize that things change so quickly in our industry that to dig deep into any one area can be a death knell for an upstart career in architecture.
And, over time, with experience on a range of projects, they do acquire deeper learning in a variety of areas.
EPs can help senior architects see the value in their becoming more T-shaped, less pigeon-holed into one task, skill-set or area.
But as importantly, firm leaders need to hire T-shaped practitioners – because things do evolve so quickly – not word-for-word matches to their job ad specs.
And who better than EPs to serve as examples of the new model for firm hires.
3. EPs are Change Agents
EPs – compared with more seasoned architects – are fluid, flexible and nimble.
And so, they inspire normally risk-averse architects to invite change.
To not be afraid of it.
Never satisfied with the status quo, EPs know we – as a team, firm, profession, industry or planet – can do better.
And won’t settle for less.
EPs hear what they are asked to do – and if they’re smart – they do it.
But then something happens.
They offer something different.
Often something even better. Something we hadn’t considered.
We, in management, are counting on EPs to do this – even if we don’t explicitly ask for it.
Especially if we don’t explicitly ask for it.
It shows you’re thinking.
It shows you care.
It shows that you listened – then offered an improvement that no one else had considered.
Yes, if we decide not to go with your idea, we hate having to say no.
My ideal day is one where I can go from morning till night without having to say the word “no.”
So don’t make me say no.
Make your idea so intelligent, well thought-out, compelling and great that we have to say yes!
Change is a gift you give us. We make a promise to ourselves – and our profession – every year to innovate more.
Sometimes innovation gets lost among more bottom line goals.
EPs help to keep the promise to innovate alive (thank you.)
4. EPs are Courageous
Whether from naïveté or boldness, EPs can help seasoned architects to be more technologically courageous.
They don’t know to be frightened, to be afraid of risk.
When a senior architect walks by your monitor and says “how is that going to stand up?” – trust me – there’s a way to make it stand up.
We are grateful you tried to do something that we would have shied away from.
If it’s a worthy idea, we’ll help find a way to get it to stand up.
Thank you for attempting to do something with architecture that we are now sometimes too afraid to try ourselves.
5. EPs Seek Meaning
Meaning is one of the greatest gifts EPs give to seasoned architects.
Not only do EPs expect their work to be meaningful, but by their giving importance to work/life balance, they remind Boomers (some still single or divorced) that placing work first before all else is not the only – or best – option.
We see you having a life and say “oh, just wait till things get complicated!”
We may complain that EPs should have a more singular focus on architecture.
But the truth is, you have the answer, not us.
You have your values in the right place, not us.
If only we learned that lesson sooner!
EPs are all about adding meaning.
For their work to be meaningful.
For finding shortcuts and templates to minimize the busy work and maximize what is important to them.
Like using your core competencies for a greater portion of each day.
Using your brains, not just your fingers.
We used to think that way – and have come up with excuses (did I just hear myself say Architecture is first and foremost a business?!)
When making payroll, meeting clients demands, is now front and center.
Meaning takes a back seat.
Then you send us a link to a film about another firm – one that places meaning first – and our eyes well up.
We know we can do more and be more.
And we have you, EPs, to thank for reminding us.
Now, let’s turn this around.
Naturally, EPs aren’t doing all the giving.
They must be getting something in return.
So what, besides a paycheck, warm Aeron chair and beer Fridays can architects and firm leaders offer EPs?
Here are 5 Gifts Emerging Professionals Receive from Seasoned Architects.
1. Seeing the Big Picture
Architects see the big picture.
Emerging professionals sometimes need help seeing the forest from the trees.
EPs (rightfully) don’t trust forests – or long-term plans.
EPs become long-term employees, for example, not by making 20-year commitments but by showing up one day at a time.
EPs have a hard time seeing where it’s all leading.
Architects recognize time horizons and building cycles.
I’ll never forget when a senior architect told me, years ago, that hotels and hospitality have a seven-year boom/bust cycle.
Put that in your iCal.
Firm leaders can help EPs see the big picture – and have a responsibility to do so.
2. Comfort with Ambiguity
Times today are uncertain.
And architecture is filled with uncertainty.
Will the client accept and support the design direction?
Will neighbors and constituents vote in favor of the building’s height?
Will the developer be able to get a loan so the project can move forward?
If you’re thinking piece of cake, you’ve been at the game a while.
Not everyone has the perspective you have.
So share it.
Just don’t make it sound patronizing, condescending, or like old wise architect speaks!
Architects are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty.
EPs? Not so much.
Firm leaders can help bridge this gap (so do it!)
3. Systems Thinking
Senior architects have the perspective and experience to see individual acts in a larger context.
Because they see the big picture, they have an easier time helping to keep things whole.
Firm leaders can show EPs how their seemingly isolated, individual decisions can impact the bigger picture.
And how everything in architecture can be thought of in terms of flows.
(Or perhaps this is something EPs already know and just aren’t articulating?)
4. Lateral, not Linear, Thinking
Seasoned architects don’t complete tasks sequentially.
You would think that the multitasking generation would do this as well.
Due to their experience and perspective, architects know they can look at assignments from many vantages simultaneously.
Think of architect Cesar Pelli who could think through every pro and con in his head, anticipating every consequence for any course of action, then make a decision.
Call it an ability or insight, this is a gift that senior architects can share with EPs.
5. Architecture as an Art + Science
Architects know that every decision – every architectural act – is a combination of art and science.
They may come across as conservative, gravity-bound and risk-averse.
But they mean well.
The reality is (there they go with reality again!)– we balance art with science every time we venture into making architecture.
As boring as it may appear, architects know your brilliant idea won’t mean a thing if it can’t stand up, hold water, shed water and be accessed, serviced and maintained.
One participant in the upcoming AIA 2014 EP Summit shared the following:
I’m always learning from the emerging professionals. They seem to teach me more than I teach them!
What do you say?
Does this match your experience? Do you see any missing? Which – if any – would you change or add to?
Let us know by leaving a comment. Thanks!
Professionalism as a State of Mind December 19, 2013Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, education, employment, essence, principles, survival.
Tags: AIA, architects, architectural education, architecture, profession, professionalism, professionals
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@Architect1122: AIA will be emerging professionals, now or later.
Erin Murphy AIA, the Director of Emerging Professionals at AIA National in Washington, DC tweeted back:
@erinmurphyaia: I argue this point every day.
Because I teach large undergraduate and graduate architecture lecture courses at a major state university, I get a pretty good look – at least number-wise – at the future make-up of the profession.
And what I see concerns me.
It’s not their intelligence. Most are very smart.
Nor is it their work ethic. They clearly work hard.
And it’s not for a lack of talent that they got into a competitive university.
What concerns me is this:
Being a professional requires an independent mindset.
In this age of collaboration, to be a professional means one has to think for oneself.
That’s not to say that they cannot seek advice. In fact, having people and resources you can turn to is a critical part of practice.
When starting a firm, for example, it’s important to line up a support system including a banker, management consultant, accountant or bookkeeper and an attorney.
And yet, to be a professional means not to be swayed by outside forces.
Architects cannot, for example, take kickbacks from contractors.
In fact, for an architect to receive payment outside of the client and still be considered independent, they should never accept a finder’s fee, share contractor’s profit or accept rebates from suppliers or manufacturers.
For an architect to be considered independent, they shouldn’t receive payment outside of the client.
There are other factors that distinguish the professional. Academically, an attribute of being a professional involves knowledge that is more than ordinarily complex and is an intellectual enterprise.
Being a professional means that one will apply theoretical and complex knowledge to the solution of human and social problems.
And to be a professional means that you will pass your knowledge to novice generations.
What concerns me about the current crop of students is this:
For them, being professional is conditional.
If you give me an A, I will like you.
If you make the assignments a breeze, I will give you a good teaching evaluation.
Give me what I want, and I will acknowledge you outside of class.
I will tell you what is important to know and what is not. Not you.
Here’s the thing:
Professionalism, like your mama’s love, is unconditional.
You have to love what you do and act from that passion.
You have to think for yourself and not be swayed by outside forces.
Each week, I had my professional practice students write a journal entry on the online blackboard course site.
I’d ask them to provide feedback on a guest lecturer’s presentation or a reading we had discussed in class.
Then I’d read each and every one.
Most of the students thought that these journal entries were a waste of time – and told me so.
I actually believe they were incredibly important indicators of who will and will not become valued professionals in the years to come.
Many of the journal entries told me what the student thought I wanted to hear. For example, in order to reach the minimum word count, they usually repeated the question or questions, and unnecessarily provided background information – the equivalent of throat clearing before getting around to a speech.
I warned them in class about providing “boilerplate” content – information one could find online or elsewhere without much effort.
Most ignored this advice.
I told them what I was interested in was their opinions. Their points of view. I wanted to hear about their experiences – and what they believed in.
The students who did this grew exponentially from the earliest journal entries to the last.
They were able to express themselves in writing. They were able to incorporate content that they had learned from other courses, or from experiences outside of school.
Others merely phoned-in their entries. They showed-up at the online site, usually at the last minute, as though to fulfill an obligation – one that was obviously not as important as the other demands on their time, especially design studio.
I saw reading 82 journal entries each week for 16 weeks – 1320 essays in all – as a gift.
It gave me a perspective into the future of the profession – like looking into a crystal ball.
Some of what I see concerns me, but I also like a lot of what I see as well.
I wish I had a dozen openings in my firm because I would hire at least that many students based on their journal entries alone.
Based on their writing, logic and critical thinking, based on their ability to articulate their feelings, communicate and care, we can rest assured that our profession – and the AIA – will be in good hands in the years ahead.
The others who merely showed up – they will have to decide what is important to them.
My whole contention in my professional practice course is that you cannot act one way at one time and act another way at another time.
As an architect, you’re more slab stone than laminate or veneer. Who you are on the outside is who you are inside.
Being a professional is something you take with you – it is the way you carry yourself and handle yourself not just in class, or in the office, but all of the time.
Whether you think someone is looking or not.
One day, I accidentally double-booked my calendar and didn’t sync my iCal. When my student showed up for his schedule timeslot, I apologized and told him I had another meeting I needed to go to, and asked if we could reschedule?
In my experience, there are students who handle this situation graciously, and others who will make you feel like a total heel.
The first type of student is, in my opinion, well on their way to being someone others will want to work with. Their level of maturity and perspective – their ability to suppress their disappointment, and to think in terms of the other person’s needs – is what distinguishes them.
They place long-term relations above expressing immediate feelings.
I will want to work with them because I know that I will continue to be imperfect and make mistakes in the future, and will want to work with people who are understanding, who handle the situation maturely, reschedule and move on.
For our profession and industry to thrive, we’ll need to send the message that to be a professional, you’ll need to do more than graduate from an accredited program, put in office time and pass an exam.
To be a professional means to behave in a way, even when alone, as though someone else is watching.
Because someone probably will be.
The Architect (2012) January 8, 2012Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, architecture industry, BIM, change, employment, marginalization, technology, the economy, transformation, transition.
Tags: academy awards, BIM, CAD, George Valentin, Hollywood, oscar contender, Peppy Miller, silent films, The Artist, the oscars
Last night I had the opportunity to see Oscar contender, “The Architect,” a film whose story begins in the late-CAD era.
“The Architect,” whether you consider it a screwball comedy, a sentimental melodrama or a spoof, is a 2D black-and-white film that has received a great deal of praise from critics.
The story is a simple and familiar one
The story focuses on a declining male starchitect and a rising starletchitect, as CAD grows out of fashion and is replaced by BIM.
A valentine to early computer-aided design and drafting, “The Architect,” stars leading man Jean Dujardin as a CAD-using starchitect named George Valentin.
At the top of his profession, Valentin meets eager would-be starletchitect Peppy Miller.
She dreams of success in architecture, invests time in learning BIM, and as her demand rises in the industry, Valentin’s shine is eradicated.
Architect Valentin faces untold obstacles: the fickleness of the public’s changing taste, the adoption of disruptive new technologies, waning powers that come with age, competition from fellow industry professionals and unemployment, among others.
Faced with the economic insecurity of the Great Recession and technological change that threatens to make him obsolete, George is being crushed in a vise grip all too familiar to mid-career architects.
Refusing to adapt to the onset of BIM, he puts all his money into one last CAD production.
George has owners in the palm of his hand, at least until BIM arrives
It turns out George isn’t well-suited for BIM, not least because of his mindset and attitude, dependence on 2D CAD and archaic drafting style.
But BIM is perfectly suited to a vivacious ingénue named Peppy Miller, who crosses paths with George, first as a fangirl, then as an intern in the office of his firm.
In 2009, just after Wall Street crashes, George’s studio stops making CAD documents.
The studio head announces the end of production of 2D CAD documents, but Valentin insists that BIM is just a fad.
It’s fitting that the next time he meets Peppy, on Rapidograph Studio’s main stairway, she’s on her way up and he’s on his way down.
When the studio head lays-off all his 2D CAD starchitects, George decides to open his own office where he could work in CAD.
His project is submitted on the same day as Miller’s new BIM project, and Valentin is ruined.
His wife kicks him out and he moves into an apartment with his valet, while Miller goes on to become a major 3D starletchitect.
“If that’s the future, you can have it!”
However reassuring excursions into bygone golden ages may be – whether drafting in pencil or CAD – they carry with them the potential for revisionism, soft-focus complacency and the refusal to embrace uncomfortable but necessary change.
This is why some critics are grumbling about “The Architect,” which has won a cache of critics’ awards and looks to be a contender for the Best Picture Oscar.
Whereas naysaying design professionals can appreciate the fond look back at the medium they adore with equal devotion, they inevitably see “The Architect” as an all too-comfortable 2D nostalgia trip that represents stasis rather than genuine innovation, provocation or artistic risk that working in 3D enables.
Those skeptics may be missing a modest but meaningful truth buried under “The Architect’s” surface and story, which is that George’s plight could easily be transposed into any modern-day profession or industry.
In one of “The Architect’s” most poignant scenes, George plays a character sinking in a cement pour, an aptly desperate metaphor at a time when so many architects feel they are in over their heads.
It’s a film that taps into our anxieties as we encounter seismic economic and technological transformations.
Having just witnessed his first BIM model, George says at one point:
“If that’s the future, you can have it!”
He could be speaking for an entire generation of architects who feel as if they’re in mortal danger of being left behind, forced into early retirement they can’t afford — literally or psychologically – or leaving the profession altogether.
At the risk of revealing a spoiler, it turns out all is not lost for George.
Disappointingly, it involves a work-around – when everyone recognizes the only way out is the way through.
“The Architect” may be drenched in the romance and visual values of CAD’s bygone era, but it’s a motion picture uncannily of its time.
(Apologies to critics of “The Artist,” which – like this post – is a shameless pastiche.)
Why Didn’t You Teach Me How to Practice? November 21, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, career, change, education, employment, IDP, pragmatism.
Tags: architecture education, architecture school, bridging the gap, education, IDP, Intern Development Program, law school, lawyering, training
But can it?
That’s certainly the intention of Intern Development Program (IDP), the comprehensive training program created to ensure that interns in the architecture profession gain the knowledge and skills required for the independent practice of architecture.
Setting aside the validity in today’s economy of an independent – as opposed to integrated – practice of architecture,
Is the office the best place to train to become an architect?
In firms, these days, almost everybody draws.
And everyone is as close to 100% billable as humanly possible.
No more can architects consider themselves “knowledge workers,” unless that knowledge includes working knowledge of such software programs as AutoCAD or Revit.
With many architecture firms pared down to skeleton staffs, training is a luxury few can afford.
And teaching recent grads on a client’s dime is something most clients will no longer tolerate.
Building clients have never warmed to the idea that they are footing the bill for an intern’s education on the job.
As one senior designer said to me over coffee, rather loudly with an emphatic pounding on the table:
“Work is not school! Not school! Not school!!!”
Tell that to any firm that has set-up and administered a corporate university.
Neither academia nor practice, we’re beginning to see emerging entities that are starting to fill-in the gap, gaping hole or (for those attending Cornell) gorge between architectural education and practice.
Hybrid education. Just-in-time education.
Enroll in the equivalent of a four-year lunch-and-learn.
Don’t pass go don’t collect 200 dollars go straight to jail.
At the same time, we’re seeing bridge students who take-up architecture and engineering; or engineering and construction management; or architecture and an MBA, to help segue between academic and real-world pursuits while presumably making themselves more attractive to an employer.
Perhaps it is best that training – whether in continuing education or in practice – stay outside academe’s ivy walls.
Training is still seen by some as parochial, vocational.
In some academic circles “practice” is a dirty word.
Why sully your pristine education with practical consideration?
Some architecture schools won’t have practitioners on their faculty so as not to infect their student body, as though practical considerations were a disease.
This, despite the fact that practical knowledge is a job requirement on the road to becoming a full-fledge professional, every bit as much as residency is for a doctor.
Before building-up $150,000 in student loans, would-be architects – in most states – know that they will have to pass through an apprenticeship prior to sitting for the licensing exam.
Remind me: What exactly did you get for your $150,000 education?
Learning in school vs. learning in the gap vs. learning on the job
Architects like to think that they are alone in many things, not the least of which is their inadequate education and training in the face of a constantly moving picture of practice.
They are of course wrong: they have plenty of company.
This is evident in the many parallels with other areas of study.
Just consider these quotes:
“What they did not get, for all that time and money, was much practical training.”
“Schools have long emphasized the theoretical over the useful”
“Professors are rewarded for chin-stroking scholarship”
“They are (practitioners) in the sense that they have…degrees, but they aren’t ready to be a provider of services.”
First-year associates at one…firm “spend four months getting a primer on corporate (practice.) During this time, they work at a reduced salary and they are neither expected nor allowed to bill a client. It’s good marketing for the firm and a novel experience for the trainees.”
“This has helped to hasten a historic decline in hiring.”
“The essential how-tos of daily practice are a subject that many in the faculty know nothing about — by design.”
“One 2010 study of hiring at top-tier…schools since 2000 found that the median amount of practical experience was one year, and that nearly half of faculty members had never practiced…for a single day.”
“The academy wants people who are not sullied by…practice.”
“Where do these students go?…There are virtually no openings. They can’t hang a shingle and start on their own. Many of them are now asking their schools, ‘Why didn’t you teach me how to practice…?’ ”
These are just a few quotes from the New York Times article, “What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering.”
They sound remarkably – and uncomfortably – close to what architecture students go through.
What is one thing you wish recent graduates, interns or emerging professionals were taught in architecture school?
- A better understanding of ___________
- Greater familiarity with ____________
- Deeper knowledge of _____________
- Basic skills, like how to perform ______
- A stronger grasp of _______________
Let us know by leaving a comment.
Architect 2Tweets – The Week in Tweets May 28, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architect types, architecture industry, books, career, collaboration, creativity, employment, identity, management, sustainability, technology, the economy, transformation, transition.
Tags: architect Barbie, architects, architecture, CONSTRUCT, construction, retweets, tweets, twitter
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Take a look. Click on the links to find articles, websites and other resources.
If you are not a Tweeter, by browsing the list of micro-posts you will get a good idea of how I use it. And if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter @randydeutsch
Online Attendee Registration Opens Early June for @CONSTRUCTshow Free Exhibit Hall Admission & Discounted Education Packages thru Aug 11
The Architect of Flowers http://amzn.to/jrXJCh ‘Dreamlike and ethereal’ stories
Insurer: Payment delays, fragile construction industry conditions mean more building subcontractors go out of business http://bit.ly/lPLWWQ
The first warning sign that a project is in trouble. Sometimes it even begins before the project does http://bit.ly/aRY7fp
Model of San Francisco, made with 100,000 Toothpicks, began in 1976 – 3000 hours later http://bit.ly/juD4iK
Renter Nation: Since housing meltdown, nearly 3 million households have become renters. 3 million more expected by 2015 http://bit.ly/kUt51j
“There’s nothing off-putting about sustainability. Find someone who is in favor of purposely ruining the future” http://bit.ly/lV2GcG
THE construction industry, regarded as a barometer for economic activity, is now a volatile, unpredictable barometer http://bit.ly/jCwYcp
Why crumbling of America’s transportation infrastructure is a good thing, according to developers http://bit.ly/f6l6Cp
In a modern day Dark Ages with the potential for another great Renaissance? The 21st Century Renaissance http://bit.ly/a2wPeb
Polymath, Renaissance person, Multidisciplinarian (!) – Why we all must become one http://zd.net/kRoKem
To compete in a knowledge-based economy business leaders need to reinvent themselves as innovators in services http://bit.ly/ixxU24
Connections, James Burke’s iconic BBC series on the history of innovation, free to watch online http://j.mp/fcppDy
Architect 2Tweets May 22, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in BIM, books, career, creativity, employment, optimism, questions, survival, sustainability, the economy.
Tags: AEC, BIM, construction, David Meerman Scott, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, John Maeda, John Thackara, modular, prefab, Roger Martin, RT, Sir Ken Robinson, Thomas Friedman, tweets, twitter
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Architect- and Architecture-related Tweets that my followers on Twitter have shared with their followers (retweeted or RT in Twitter parlance.)
Take a look. If you are not a Tweeter, by browsing the list of micro-posts you will get a good idea of how I use it.
And if you like what you see, follow me on Twitter @randydeutsch
Finally, some good news for the hard-hit design profession: Firms are hiring again! Architecture Employment on the Rise http://bit.ly/lZ4caM
The Strategic Agenda: Securing the Future. 2 day exec ed seminar 8/01-8/02 Harvard U Graduate School of Design http://bit.ly/e8zljY
Granite countertops cost the same around the world. Just like oil. As wages go up, US will make more of its own stuff. http://nyti.ms/mrka7v
Thinkers who are challenging designers? Bruce Sterling, John Thackara, Sir Ken Robinson, Roger Martin, John Maeda http://bit.ly/jZAEDb
Video of Mansueto Library’s 5-story robotic book retrieval system in operation. Now to get robots to read them! http://bit.ly/ikFcD0
Take your eyes on a scroll. Eye-popping drawings of Lebbius Woods’ UNDERGROUND BERLIN: the film treatment http://bit.ly/qQMNi
So everything’s OK after all? “Office of National Statistics accused of exaggerating construction slump.” http://bit.ly/khMVWX
Dear Architecture Graduates: Be Ready, Relentless, and Lucky http://bit.ly/d2z71P
Despite economy, logic, gravity & common sense, young architectural firm lands major projects, expands staff http://bit.ly/mzzGk8
MORE (and IMHO even better) visual notes from IIT Institute of Design Strategy Conference 2011 http://bit.ly/jieG7m
How visual types take notes http://bit.ly/mpSheY
The Architect’s New Titles: to Use or Abuse May 14, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in architect types, BIM, books, career, change, employment, management, software architects, the economy.
Tags: architect positions, architect titles, bimworker, change management, design anthropologist, design consultant, design ninja, design strategist, design thinker, design thinking, freelancer, intrepreneur, job titles, service designer, thought leader
Not that they’re going to give up the title architect anytime soon.
They’re in search of a title that more accurately qualifies – and clarifies – what they do as an architect.
With the advent of social media, what we call ourselves in our profiles goes a long way toward how others treat and work with us.
Re-titling it turns out is no longer just for cars
Sometimes we find ourselves using titles that we ourselves aren’t certain what they mean.
And good thing. Because we often use them as much to obfuscate as to communicate.
Many of the newest titles are conjunctions, conflations or co-joining of two or more existing titles – such as business and design – that are meaningful when used independently but when combined leave us ashamed and others feeling abused.
In fact, if you hear someone say “I’m at the intersection of design and business” don’t meet them there – they’re probably lost.
We’ll skip trendy titles such as “Director of Chaos” because architects are more likely to be a “Director of Form.”
And “Director of First Impressions”? A euphemism for Receptionist. (We’ll spare you the Dilbertisms)
Here’s a field guide to some of the ways we are referring to ourselves – and to each other – in this make-it-up-as-you-go world we find ourselves living and working in.
One definition is offered to confuse or Abuse.
The other you’d be better off to Use.
Abuse: A designer
- is someone who sees everything as an opportunity for improvement.
- is someone who has to sell themselves and their talents every time they walk into a room.
- primarily concerns themselves with how to create a successful communication, product, or experience.
- is an agent who specifies the structural properties of a design object.
- is anyone who creates tangible or intangible objects
In other words, there are as many definitions as there are designers.
Use: Architect. Use Designer if you’d to be retained by an owner. See An Architect With Low Self-esteem
A Design Consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, designs a new one for you, sends you a bill for it and puts a lien on it when you don’t pay in 120 days.
Abuse: Specialists in human factors, psychology, business, design, engineering and manufacturing who provide full service consulting for building and product innovation and design.
Use: Freelancer. An architect who can’t find full-time employment.
Abuse: Uses project management, design, strategy and supply chain techniques to control a creative process, supports a culture of creativity and build a structure and organization for design.
Use: A manager of design projects.
See: This is a comprehensive reference book for anyone seeking an introduction to the basic concepts and principles that inform the management of design projects, teams and processes within the creative industries; and her earlier work, here.
Abuse: Belonging to an interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand the role of design artifacts and processes in defining what it means to be human. See also: Design Sociologist
Use: Someone with an undergraduate anthropology diploma and a 3 year degree in architecture.
Abuse: An unorthodox or unconventional designer. Used more often in web and graphic design.
Use: Design Mercenary (忍者)
Pure unadulterated business jargon. An entity that is recognized for having innovative ideas or business ideas that merited attention. ‘Go to’ subject-matter experts in your industry. Period. Here’s how to package your ideas to share with others.
Abuse: Calling yourself one.
Use: Only when others call you this. And even then, don’t ever use it to describe yourself.
Abuse: Someone who writes his/her thoughts and feelings online.
Use: Anyone who contributes to a blog or online journal. And I mean anyone.
See: Arbiter of Knowledge and Wisdom
Abuse: Someone who knows what it means to manage the people side of the change equation.
Use: Someone adept at soothing the staff when management changes their mind. See Change Management
Abuse: Business people trained in design methods.
Use: Design people trained in business methods.
Abuse: Design Principals and Senior Designers used to hand off their building designs – and Project Managers and Architects their redlines – to CAD operators. With BIM, it no longer works this way. Like Artworkers in graphic design, BIMworkers initiate, commence, pursue, resolve self-edit and complete the work. If they had money, they would also own it.
Use: BIM Modelers. BIM Managers, BIM Coordinators and BIM Operators will thank you for it.
Abuse: Someone who uses the word “wayfinding” in casual conversation.
Use: An architect knows that if you have to use signage, you’ve failed. Architecture is its own wayfinding.
Abuse: Someone who provides innovative insights on using design as a strategic resource. Someone who hangs with CEOs of major brand management firms, business school deans, IDEO alum, engineers and professors of design
Use: Someone who uses design to achieve key business objectives. See Design Thinker and Design Guru.
See: To be a design strategist, you either have to be an IDEO veteran, Stanford University lecturer on design, the founder of a customer experience design company – or know someone who is one. Here are the eleven skills sets for what it takes and here and here.
Abuse: Someone who organizes people, infrastructure, communication and material components of a service in order to improve its quality, the interaction between service provider and customers and the customer’s experience. A cross-disciplinary practitioner who combines skills in design, management and process engineering.
Use: Someone who provides numerous benefits to the end user experience when applied to project types such as retail, banking, transportation, & healthcare. See Social Entrepreneur
Abuse: See Form giver. Someone who gives shape to products, objects and buildings.
Use: Someone who really gets design, puts it to good use and will lead others into the twenty-first century with creative strategies.
See this, probably the best new book on the topic.
Chief X Officer
Where X can be Culture, Interpretation, Learning, Systems, Collaboration, Co-Creation, Creativity, Innovation, Mischief, Imagination, Technology, Information, Fun. As in Chief Storytelling Officer. Someone who has traded real work for knowledge work. A begrudging strategist.
Abuse: A corporate title indicating hierarchy, authority and power. A high ranking officer who gets an office with a window.
Use: Leader. A high ranking officer who gets a windowless office.
Abuse: Entrepreneurs who operate by creating business opportunities and practices inside their organization. Employees who – in addition to their workload – develop client relationships and bring in work.
Use: An employee today runs their own company within their company. Any employee who sells wrapping paper or cookies to captured employees on behalf of their kids. See Social Intrepreneur
Use: Someone with a short attention span who can’t make their mind up. Someone who comes up with an idea then abandons it, usually for another equally compelling idea. See Serial Intrepreneur
Design Director (especially when conflated with Founder, Owner, CEO, President and Managing Partner)
Abuse: Principal responsible for client, project, financial, design management and coffee making.
Use: Freelancer. Sole proprietor.
Founding Principal and Owner
Use: You. Your name.
Abuse: Whether Sustainability Advocate or IPD Advocate, they’re a person who publicly supports and recommends a particular cause or policy.
Use: Someone who facilitates the process for others but won’t be seen doing it themselves. See X Evangelist
Director of Product Strategy and Innovation
Use: Cell phone sales. See Verizon Salesperson
Abuse: Passionate arbiter of knowledge who enjoys learning while teaching.
Use: Job seeking.
See: Speaker, Author, Educator, Mentor
Abuse: Someone who wastes other people’s time and resources by laboriously advocating the use of such systems as Six Sigma, TQM, Lean and other business management methodologies.
Use: Someone who creates value for others by eliminating waste. See IPD Advocate
Abuse: Someone who works at any of the tasks of planning, acquiring, searching, analyzing, organizing, storing, programming, distributing, marketing, or otherwise contributing to the transformation and commerce of information and those (often the same people) who work at using the knowledge so produced.
Use: Employee. Anyone who works for a living – using something other than their hands – at the tasks of developing or using knowledge. Anyone who develops, works with or uses information in the workplace. See Anyone who works for a living
Abuse: Someone who uses industry techniques such as gathering intelligence on competitors, generating leads and prospects, managing presentations and designing and generating successful business models, aimed at attracting new clients and penetrating existing markets.
Use: Client-building, client relations and marketing. See Rainmaker
Abuse: Someone who engages clients by focusing attention on the issues and individuals at hand, listening both to what they say and what they leave unsaid, framing the immediate problem from their perspective, envisioning with them how a solution might appear and committing jointly to the actions and resources that will bring it about, all to gain the confidence and earn the trust of their clients.
Speaker, Author, Educator, Mentor
Use: Retired. See Scattershot Approach to Capturing Attention on LinkedIn
Now it’s your turn. Are there any titles you are aware of that you don’t see here?
Architects 2Zebras Celebrates 2Years January 2, 2011Posted by randydeutsch in architect, architecture industry, change, creativity, employment, optimism, possibility, survival, the economy, transformation.
Tags: AIA National, anniversary, ARCHITECT magazine, blog, Wordpress
The 81 Reasons Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Architect post immediately went viral, reposted on dozens of sites around the world, including for a time on the AIA National website. To this day several people view this post from as far flung places as Hungary and Japan.
And best of all, you came back again and again despite my not having always delivered on my promise: to uplift while I inform.
Here are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010:
81 Reasons Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Architect February 2010
107 Reasons Why You, Architect, Matter June 2010
55 Ways to Help You Evolve as an Architect May 2010
A Heartbreaking Book of Staggering Genius: One Architect’s Detour of Duty September 2010
My birthday is July 5, the day after Independence Day, so I get to celebrate an extra day every year. So it is only natural that I would celebrate the birth of this blog the day after another holiday: New Years Day.
WordPress, ‘Zebra’s host, sent out an email this morning identifying some of this blog’s highlights over the past year:
- · In 2010, you wrote 30 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 69 posts.
- · Your busiest day of the year was February 26th.
- · The most popular post that day was 81 Reasons Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Architect.
- · The top referring sites in 2010 were linkedin.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, architecture.myninjaplease.com, and architechnophilia.blogspot.com.
- · Some visitors came searching, mostly for “change,” “architect” and “to be optimistic about something.”
What WordPress failed to mention is that I did not always deliver on this last count.
It has been a hard year for many architects. I have been out of work for nearly a year and there are times when the state of the economy gets to me – someone who considers himself an eternal optimist.
My previous post was indicative of this state of mind. While several readers wrote to me – by email, or on LinkedIn – that what I said in that post was largely accurate, the vast majority found it to be depressing.
It is never my intention to add to anyone’s misery – I thought I was just stating it as I see it.
I was wrong.
I can see now, through WordPress’s stats, that no one visits my site after searching for “just the facts,” “reality” or “to be pessimistic about something.”
One of my resolutions for 2011 is to be, as always, honest with you and true to myself, but not at the expense of providing hope, pertinent information and sharing my normally optimistic outlook.
There is a world of good out there – and in each and every one of us.
I’ll do my best in the coming year to share with you resources, insights and knowledge that is growth promoting, nurturing and, whenever possible, inspiring.
That’s my pledge to you.
Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you here again soon.
Have a happy, healthy, prosperous and creatively fulfilling 2011!
Randy Deutsch AIA, LEED AP