British architects have traditionally been respected globally for their inspiring vision. This blog celebrates the exciting future of Britain’s newest talent who are going to make their mark all over this fast-changing world. We aim to help these new practices develop skills to deal with the huge challenges – and thrills – the lie ahead. I look forward to you joining me in the conversation.
Chris Williamson of Weston Williamson + Partners is coming to the end of his time as RIBA Ambassador for Business Skills, a role that has seen him engage in debates around the country and gather together invaluable business guidance on his Architect Skills website. Here he looks on RIBA London Region’s very successful Incubator, where he has been mentoring new practices as they start up their businesses in the cut-throat world of overheads, business development, and resource planning. Incubating the future We at Weston Williamson have always married design excellence with a business focus, but that is rare in our [...]
Bootcamp Time for Business Skills A month in and 2017 is in full swing. Its Pandora’s box of exotic post-prefixed cultural constructs – post-Brexit, post-truth, post-Obama – are roiling unpredictably through global economies in ways that make laughing stocks of respected business soothsayers. At the coalface of British architectural practice, the lights haven’t gone out, but we have lost the map. Hard-bitten survivalists who battened down against the referendum storm are wondering if they moved too fast. Eternal optimists are perhaps counting their lucky stars that their clients haven’t pulled the rug out from under them. It seems there [...]
Seriously: it’s business time My blog introduced the #savvyarchitect campaign. Part 1 highlighted some the difficulties that architects have with ‘doing business’. Part 2 presented some evidence to back up those observations. They were written to ruffle a few feathers, and indeed they have done. Reassuringly, they have also attracted support. Discussions on various LinkedIn groups are generating fair numbers of comments and likes. But as RIBA Ambassador for Business Skills, I have to be honest: it’s nowhere near enough. It’s barely a ripple on the surface of an ocean of indifference. In fact, it is symptomatic of the [...]
In my first blog in this two-part series, I talked about the way architects’ schooling fails to train us in running businesses and prejudices us against profit-making. Here, I try to work out how true this is and the extent of its impact. What does the evidence tell us? Even for died-in-the-wool entrepreneurs, starting and managing an architectural practice is tough. It demands many new skills and areas of knowledge, especially if you employ people: leadership, commercial strategy, business planning, financial management, entrepreneurship, negotiation, human resources management, people management, marketing, promotion, networking and sales. On top of a demanding professional [...]
We architects have an unfair reputation not just for being bad at business but for actively despising it. Trouble is, we need business skills to work as architects, more so than ever with the trends currently disrupting our industry. I think it’s time to reconcile this paradox and realise our worth. Trained to disdain profit The unappetising truth is that architects are not trained to run businesses. Worse than that, it seems that our schooling actively inculcates a disdain for profit-making. Money is somehow a dirty word. And since the lifeblood of business is making more money than you [...]