5.12A Solving The Right Problem: Design Matters but Strategy Matters More
Friday, October 20, 2017 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Venue: George R. Brown Convention Center
Room: 320A

All too often the stated objective of a facilities project is not the real problem to be solved. Facilities projects are structured to solve a real estate or facilities problem. A move or relocation or a new headquarters facilities. These may be triggered by a need for consolidation or expansion or a merger or change of real estate strategy within the organization. The apparent project on the surface, is solving a potential real estate problem. However, more often, the stated problem is not the real problem to be solved. Digging deeper, one uncovers issues to be solved that have a greater impact on the success of the organization than merely resolving a facilities or real estate problem through a facilities or real estate solution. An example would be an organization that needs to consolidate its many diverse campus facilities to create a single entity. This same organization is going through a disruption to its business model resulting from industry changes. At the start of the project, they are a manufacturing organization. Half way through the project one realizes they are a technology organization. The real problem is not creating a new headquarters facility for a technology company, but how do you transform one model of business to another, facilities being only an enabler but not the solution. Using a design strategy process, this presentation will demonstrate through an examination of four different and unique projects, how the original stated objectives turned out to not be the real project problem. Through these case studies (an international manufacturing company, a unique technology company, a city government center and a design organization) the presentation will examine how using design strategy methodologies that take an organizational perspective, the underlying problem was discovered and a more meaningful design solution was identified and developed and how the ultimate solutions resulted in organizational transformations and benefits beyond the original thinking around real estate solutions. The presentation will explore these four case studies, presenting the original project problem and the ensuing workplace design strategy process for each project. It will go on to show how in each case a need was identified that went beyond the original thinking and description of the project and how though addressing this ‘real problem’ workplace solutions were developed that led to successful transformations and made the resulting workplace design solu

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:
How the stated project problem to be solved is often not the real problem that the project should be solving.
How to use strategy to identify and uncover the 'real' project problem to be solved.
How design strategy enables the organization to develop different sceanrios to solve organizational problems.
Why real estate and facility problems are really organizational problems and need a different project approach.
Levels of Learning
300 level
Topic Category:
Arnold Levin, Principal, Workplace Strategies, Smith Group JJR