MEREDITH Strategy + Design

We design the places and spaces where people come together to do great work

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Weeknotes 130922

I thought I'd try to get back into the weeknotes concept. I used to do this in other places, but the clutter kept getting into the way, much as it does for any mode of posting here. I'm hoping that a bit of weekly recollection might help with a more disciplined posting routine. It also might be an agent in tuning the tone of voice throughout the blog. Anyway, here are a few things going on in our other life, which overfilled the week.

Retail skins

There's a stretch of retail along one of our most important and busy streets that is leftover from an earlier time and probably impossible to adjust in significant ways because of both the embedded investment as well as the form and context factors that suppress significant reinvestment. We had a bit of fun in a design strategy session unpacking the conventional approach and illustrating the potentials in a design based on speed and perception rather than convention of forms and signs.

Organization and environment

We attended a very good presentation/discussion featuring Dave Lathrup, Fritz Steele and Mike Brennan. The title of the event moved toward the psychology of space and how it shapes behaviors, but seemed to unfold around the alignment of organizational structure and environment, that is, around how work is really done and how space might help or hurt. Some inspiring insights came from comments like, "the creation of value in a social context," "a time for a revolution in creativity," the importance of the ability "to spot change and quickly do something about it," and "the community as the workplace."

The New Technical Workplace 

We continued to advance our thinking and our offerings on what we are calling "the new technical workplace." Much of this emerges from a relatively consistent request from our clients these days asking, "Why don't we shape our buildings around our work?" This comes mostly from those who are in the R&D space where functions have been the "owners" and therefore the shapers of space. The interest in a different organizational model, a different working culture, and an innovation imperative seems to ask for a new typology in this domain. There is growing dissatisfaction with the requirement to shape the work to fit the buildings.

Resmaking the city 

We periodically work with a real estate broker who seems to never let a commission be defined by his client. That is, he consistently looks about to understand the potential transaction in the larger environment and then shapes linked deals that raise the value, benefit and influence of properties for the owners, and for the community. We concluded some conceptual development that started with a commission to sell a parking parcel but grew to link institutions, transit systems, and district identity. More later.


The week ahead looks very interesting with at least three urban projects emerging.


russelldavies via flickr  

russelldavies via flickr