We accept that Architects have an ability to design pleasing structures. I feel another part of their repertoire is equally as important; It is the ability to visualize the change needed between current and the future state and to successfully chart the path for evolving to it. You may believe that these traits are common in organizations through engineering, project management and operations but Architects do it a different way. They do it through the lens of design.
How do Architects think? A study, Thinking like an Architect. by Kyle Gabhart explores the subject of architects and how they view and ultimately solve problems.
The overwhelming indication here is that building-style toys (LEGOs, blocks, Lincoln Logs, etc.) were a favorite toy of those individuals that eventually grew up to become architects. Could it be that the abstract thinking and pattern-recognition that is inherent in building-style toys was already being developed and enhanced at such an early age? The second contender is board games, which has a strong component of rules sets and also pattern-recognition. Here again, the impressionable mind of the future architect may already be creating mental categories, placeholders, and thought patterns for future architecture activities.
LEGOs is not that surprising but another part of the survey listed these results:
- 53.08% of respondents studied / trained with a musical instrument
- 36.97% pursued mathematics studies beyond the basics required by a degree program
- 22.27% engaged in formal singing activities, including music theory and sight-reading
What does that tell us? A background in music may mean a great deal of regimented practice and the ability to take instruction. In combination with LEGOs it shows the ability to build on an existing process and achieve future results. It may also say a lot about teamwork, since many that play music in high school participate in the band.
Architects offer traditional core services but they also balance human, technical and business factors as well, managing these factors to achieve their outcomes. Architects build and coordinate teams from a variety of services. Just doing this within our own organizations seems insurmountable at times. Think about outsourcing your entire business?
Our products/services are increasingly become more strategic. We must enable the use of our product/service to serve clients more effectively and to increase customer engagement. Architects add a great deal of value to this thought process. They have always started with customer engagement in their design practice. Design is not an afterthought, it is the reason for engagement. There is no such thing as features and benefits at this point. That only comes through a definition of the needs of the clients. Interesting?
Define the Expectation, Delight the Customer
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