MEREDITH Strategy + Design

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

28 March 2015

A major disappointment

We'd spent a huge amount of time over the holidays from Thanksgiving to mid-January preparing a proposal for a very significant project.  Winning it would provide a platform for developing entirely new approaches to product development environments. The project also had a scale that could support our team for the next decade.

We pulled together an international team that included one of the most prominent architectural firms on the planet. We also included consultants who have committed themselves to the highest levels of sustainable planning and design. The client, a major global manufacturer, has now chosen another team.

These are massive disappointments, of course. However, in the course of developing our proposal, we met great people and developed new ways of working that can have resonating value beyond this specific proposal. Our team, with the emotion of loss fading, will begin next week to capture the learnings from our proposal process for integration into our ongoing practice.

Beginning a new project

There are so many places like this – places where truly dedicated people work overlooking and seemingly overcoming significant barriers to their achievement. I can commend their heroism, of sorts, for making do until, after meeting and talking with them, i begin to visualize the right kind of place and space for them. Then, I want to push into design and get all of this corrected as quickly as possible.

This is one of the largest independent community mental health organizations in the country, I believe. It is an organization that has authored many leading concepts in integrated care that subsequently proliferate through many similar organizations. The people who work here are a delight to talk with. They seem unaware of the difficulties in overcoming their work environment, and speak only of what they do and how they support their patients, their consumers. 

We’ve just completed two full days of rolling half-hour introductory conversations with the executive and supervisory staff of the organization. These conversations are simply for us to get to know the organization and develop some preliminary ideas about how to approach additional research and increase our immersion into their operations. These initial conversations will help us uncover certain themes or issues that we’ll then explore in surveys, observations, and small group workshops, as well. 

From this first round of conversations, certain emerging concepts have begun to appear – 

  • How to increase the interaction between case workers, to enhance the quality of their work, their sense of shared purpose, the development of best practices, their interactions with clinical staff, and their preparation of others who will have a part in the therapy and care of people with lifelong needs. 
  • How to shape a clinical space where appropriate separations are made yet where bridges between generations can be shaped more effectively and smoothly, where better observations can be made, where contexts are more evident to therapists, where consumers are supported with better orientation and comfort.
  • How to reduce the walls between executives and generate a better sense of teaming and an efficiency in communications

Our team will spend some time in this next week going over these initial interviews and observations to shape the next steps in our research. 

And a bunch of other cool stuff

In other activity in the studio, we –

  • Are programming a new space for a company that develops technologies for municipal governments
  • Met with a large contractor to continue to develop approaches to collaborations that have differential value for clients
  • Are looking forward to a new senior living project in our neighborhood
  • Have new work with a startup organization that seems to be taking over the internet security space