Future University – Edge Zones
February 5, 2013 – 6:47 pm | Comments Off on Future University – Edge Zones

I’ve been thinking a bit about the future of the university, and it seems to me that a new model may be emerging, one that has something of the traditional sanctuary of a place of learning, but that innovatively engages communities, both local and international. There will, of course, have to be those preserves where students and teachers can contemplate their experience and learn together, but there must also be what, for the moment, one might think of as an edge zone where interactions of many kinds might take place.

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Home » Headline, Lean-Design

Lean Design Services

Submitted by on September 24, 2010 – 4:42 pm3 Comments

By Bill Porter, Brian Anderson and Dan Anderson

Conventionally, design services are offered near the outset of a project and completed before implementation.  They happen in a relatively concentrated period of time and designers rarely engage with the resulting spaces after construction.  In developing the NetWork concept, we realized that conventional design services are inadequate to meet the evolving demands of the workplace and must be rethought.  We now believe that design must be engaged strategically throughout the duration of the workplace development cycle.  The conventional stacked delivery of design services should, in a sense, be tipped over on its side. In this reformulation design will run with time from the beginning of project definition through its development and implementation and engage further into its operating life.  Clearly there will be significant design activity in the earliest stages of the project, but there is a need for more later on than is typical.

What are the reasons for this shift?  In the new NetWork-ed environment, people will be working in a variety of different circumstances with different kinds and levels of support.  This will affect their individual work as well as their ability to collaborate with others in the (inevitably) distributed working groups.  Because many of these circumstances will be new, work practices will develop, some without precedents. Therefore, the means of supporting these new practices will have to be designed and implemented in ‘real time.’ Design thinking will necessarily evolve in response to these new demands and will need to be available during operations in order to incrementally improve workplace effectiveness.

This shift to NetWork implies that the products of design services need to be redefined as well as when and where they are deployed. Instead of restricting problem framing and definition to the initial phases, some will occur later in time and in response to different places and conditions.  Observation and analysis of individual and collaborative work will be extended beyond early concept making to keep pace with the development and support of actual work practices and behaviors.  Design decisions, in keeping with lean design principles, would be team based, delayed until the last responsible moment, developed situationally, and focused on continuous improvement and client value. We see design and the process of designing as intertwined in order to effectively support work.

  • Laura Catanzaro

    Good article. Confirms for me that my “guerilla architecture” tactics are not too extreme…
    Laura C.

  • wyatt

    This is very interesting but I an struggling with the application. I Would like to have some examples of clients or projects that would employ this. Institutional clients would throw up if they thought we would be designing throughout and into construction and closeout. It is a byword for change order and out of control budget and delays.

    • Dan

      Wyatt; Thanks for your comments and the opportunity to clarify. This post is addressing Lean Design in relation to workplace. In this application we are finding that many clients are facing a range of obstacles as they try to implement change within their organization. The ‘project’ in this case is ongoing and traditional design services and spaces are often inadequate for addressing continuous improvement initiatives. In regard to large capital projects for institutional clients, we find that Lean Design is an effective approach to controlling budget and avoiding delays. A coordinated core team of owner, architect and builder can effectively focus on a Target Value Design, maximizing value within budget parameters. Use of the Last Planner method improves coordination, minimizes waste, and reduces change orders, and shortens the time to completion. For more information you might take a look at the Lean Construction Institute http://www.leanconstruction.org and suggest that your clients review contract alternatives to design-bid-build such as ‘Integrated Project Delivery’ that provide incentives and support relationship based approaches to construction. Hope you can find other points of entry for Lean Design approaches.