Using Your Firm’s Internal Knowledge to Your Advantage

Jun 20, 2017 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Knowledge management, which is distinct from project management, can be equally critical to a design firm’s success.

Entrepreneur and Business Podcasts: Valuable for Design Professionals

May 24, 2017 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

 As a lover of data, I conducted my own study with multiple lists of business podcasts published by leading magazines before settling in on a few shows that consistently produce quality content.

Why Your Firm Should Be More Social

Mar 31, 2017 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

For the design industry to remain relevant, communication through social media must be seriously considered in order to help the public understand the breadth of our service offerings and to establish a greater awareness of the value design brings to our clients.

Takeaways for Designers from the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show by Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Feb 24, 2017 • Business Practice
By Evelyn Lee, AIA

The 50th anniversary Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held in January in Las Vegas, was the most expansive one to date. Produced annually by the Consumer Technology Association, CES is one of the largest technology trade shows in the world. While not specifically targeted for an audience of architects and designers, CES sets the stage for the new year with leading technology companies unveiling their latest products and innovations.

Lessons for Expecting and New Parents, and Those Who Work With Them

Feb 02, 2017 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

This month’s column is a bit more personal, drawing from my experiences as a new mom. The lessons here are not only for mothers but, frankly, for everyone in the architecture and design profession as employers, employees, and colleagues of new parents.

Process Tells Our Story

Dec 05, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Design is an ambiguous term for those outside of the profession, and it is usually carried out through a process. Why, then, do we not celebrate this process more?

Growing Firm Capital Through Investors

Nov 01, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn Lee, AIA

It is time to change this dynamic and look for other ways to both fund good design and simultaneously prove that it is a good investment.

Productizing Practice: Growing Revenue Without Growing Staff

Sep 27, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn Lee, AIA

Productizing—the act of modifying a concept or tool internal to an organization to make it suitable as a commercial product—is one way that firms can create alternate revenue streams.  

Championing the Client Interview, With Full Firm Involvement

Sep 01, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Firm interviews present a learning opportunity, internally, for all levels of staff in the business development process.

Why You Should Never Lower Fees

Aug 01, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

What can interior design and architecture professionals do to ensure that we are compensated for the full value that we bring to the table?

Building an Equitable Practice

Jun 08, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

More than 7,000 people, including 3,117 women, responded to the survey. Among women, 69 percent believed that their gender was either somewhat or very underrepresented in the field of architecture.

Building Existing Client Relationships

May 31, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Here are three simple steps to help build and continue the client relationship.

Five Steps Toward Knowledge Leadership

Apr 01, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Establishing your firm as a knowledge leader becomes a thoughtful process of continuous learning and numbers.

Strategic Services as a Tide to Lift All Boats

Mar 03, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

In this month’s column, I answer the most common questions, and address the subsequent myths, about the applicability of having a strategic group or studio within a firm.

Rethinking Practice Through Business Model Innovation

Feb 02, 2016 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Architecture and interior design firms need to evolve to survive. This has been my personal ethos since before I entered business school in 2008, and I continue to look for new methods, case studies, and opportunities to have conversations about business model innovation in practice.

Implementing a SWOT Analysis for Savvy Decision-Making

Dec 03, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

(SWOT) analysis, a strategic-planning tool that I have used often for internal planning at MKThink, organizational planning with clients, and even to assist in personal decision-making.

The Building Blocks for a Truly Multidisciplinary Practice

Nov 12, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

How do you define a multidisciplinary practice? When asked this question, individuals tend to fall into three different camps. 

Building a Purpose-driven Practice

Sep 28, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

When analyzing the shortcomings of a design firm’s business model, I often see parallels between designers and artists. In many cases, we tend to undervalue our services to ensure that we are still able to create our craft, or complete the project.

As Designers, Where Do We Find Purpose?

Sep 01, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Now is the time to ask ourselves: Where do we find purpose? Or specifically, how are firms going to become exemplary in a new purpose-filled economy?

Tracking Internal Metrics for Greater Firm Prosperity

Aug 07, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

The most important advice I can offer firms looking to either institute a new system or change an existing internal system is to start by asking which metrics, beyond typical key performance indicators, are meaningful to your firm’s success.

Retaining the Next Generation of Leaders

Jun 24, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

The repetitive nature of conversations surrounding the future of the design and architecture professions can be frustrating. 

Structuring the Stakeholder Engagement Process to Drive Better Design

May 26, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

As a designer, engaging with all key stakeholders on a given project may be viewed either as cumbersome and time consuming or as an opportunity to create better outcomes.

Implementing Data In Practice: A Profit Opportunity

Apr 03, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Data in practice is an opportunity to increase services and provide the firm with additional revenue.

Moving Beyond BIM: Why Data is Integral in the Technology Discussion

Mar 04, 2015 • Business Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Design professionals often like to think that we are at the leading edge when it comes to technology.

Moving Practice Beyond Analog

Jan 30, 2015 • Design Practice
By Evelyn M. Lee, AIA

Contract is pleased to introduce Evelyn M. Lee, AIA, as a regular columnist. Lee is focused on bringing influence and prosperity to architects and designers, ensuring their relevance in an ever-changing economy.

Obtaining the Best Insurance Coverage Will Benefit Your Firm

Dec 05, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Most interior design and architectural businesses have some financial and administrative components that the firm’s leadership does not properly focus on.

Understanding the Agreement With Your Client

Nov 05, 2014 • Design Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Your firm has won the project, and now it is time to get an agreement  in place to begin your services.

Nurturing Staff to Enrich a Healthy Firm

Oct 09, 2014 • Design Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Sound financial and business development strategies and tactics are necessary to help a firm run more efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

Developing a Fee Strategy Focused on Quality

Sep 15, 2014 • Design Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

All too often, I hear from architecture and design firms that they have taken a project for significantly less than what they anticipate their services and associated costs to be.

Negotiate Services, Compensation, and Agreement to Win

Aug 05, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Focus on the practical and legal aspects when undertaking a project.

Financial Management for Firms: Accounting, Billing, and Budgeting

Jun 04, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

The most effective program is one that serves both accounting and project management functions.

Strategic Planning for the Design Firm

May 06, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Many interiors and architectural firms operate without the guidance of a long-term business or strategic plan.

Making Recruiting a Continual Firm Project

Apr 04, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Firm leaders should always be looking to strengthen staff by recruiting the best and brightest—not waiting until there is a specific need to hire.

Good Project Management Techniques for Interiors Practices

Mar 04, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

This month, I describe several specific techniques for good project management and, therefore, more successful projects.

Choosing a Focus in Interiors Project Management

Jan 15, 2014 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Passion is what drives most of us to pursue a career in design.

Advice on Ownership Transition Strategies

Dec 02, 2013 • Design Practice
By Richard N. Pollack

Strategies for effective ownership transition, including selling the company's stock, selling the firm or merging with another company, and establishing an ESOP.

Implementing an Ownership Transition: I Built a Firm—So How Do I Get Out?

Nov 05, 2013 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Many design professionals believe that creating their own firm would be the pinnacle of their career. Their dream is to advance their design skills and have control over their own professional destiny. 

Winning Work at the Interview: It's All About Chemistry—Part II

Oct 01, 2013 • Design Practice
By by Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, writes a regular column for Contract on business practices in design and professional development.

Winning Work at the Interview: It's All About Chemistry

Sep 12, 2013 • Design Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, writes a regular column for Contract on business practices in design and professional development.

Tips on Developing Winning Proposals

Aug 08, 2013 • Design Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, writes a regular column for Contract magazine on business practices in design and professional development.

Trailblazing Project Delivery

Jun 30, 2013 • Business Practice
By Joan Blumenfeld, FAIA, IIDA, LEED ID+C

Blumenfeld shares her experiences working on a series of smaller interior design projects at Perkins+Will using Integrated Project Delivery.

Making the Decision to Respond to an RFP

Jun 04, 2013 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Winning a great project begins with writing an amazing proposal. In this issue, and continuing in the July/August issue, I will address the steps in the proposal process and how you can win more than your fair share of projects.

Attending NeoCon® to Enhance the Knowledge Base of You and Your Client

May 07, 2013 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, writes a regular column for Contract on business practices in design and professional development. This month, he offers advice on why NeoCon® is valuable for designers and their clients to attend in person.

How Young Practitioners Can Present Themselves As Leaders

Apr 02, 2013 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, writes a regular column for Contract on business practices in design and professional development. This month, he focuses on how emerging professionals can develop as leaders within their firms and the design industry. 

Gaining Projects in the Education Market

Mar 05, 2013 • Business Practice
By Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA

Contract has invited Richard N. Pollack, FAIA, FIIDA, to write a regular, ongoing column about business practices in design.

Far Fewer Mills Impact Textile Design and Production

Dec 05, 2012 • Business Practice
By Murrye Bernard

The supply chain in the American textile industry severely contracts as demand for product grows

Designing Cultural Fluency Firmwide with the Gensler Exchange

Aug 13, 2012 • Business Practice
By Diane Hoskins, FAIA

Diane Hoskins, FAIA, executive director and southeast regional managing principal at Gensler, speaks to the firm's latest professional development program

Designer Perspectives: A Q&A with Randy Fiser, ASID EVP/CEO

Mar 14, 2012 • Business Practice
By Staff

Randy Fiser began as the new executive vice president and chief executive officer in February, succeeding Michael Alin who served in the role for more than 20 years

Designer Perspectives: Strategies to Manage Global Design Teams

Aug 18, 2011 • Business Practice
By Stacy Straczynski

Joan Blumenfeld, interior design leader for Perkins+Will's New York office, speaks about the challenges in coordinating design teams on an international level

Scenario Planning: A Tactical Approach to Planning for Tomorrow and Beyond

Jul 01, 2011 • Business Practice
By Kay Sargent, IIDA, CID, LEED® AP, principal, IA Interior Architects

Scenario planning provides multiple options for avoiding dead-ends and enables firms to achieve a new equilibrium when thrown off track

Practice: Global Consensus

Mar 28, 2011 • Business Practice
By Jennifer Thiele Busch

An international group of interior designers and architects makes history in New York with the first global declaration establishing the importance of the interiors profession to the built environment

The Inadmissible Evidence Behind Design

Apr 20, 2010 • Business Practice
By Michael Berens

Research has become a hot topic lately in interior design especially in the arenas of sustainability, healthcare, and workplace environments.

Design Practice: Reading the Tea Leaves of Future Design

Apr 02, 2010 • Business Practice
By Jan Lakin

As alliances and collaborations combine with more frequency, and technological possibilities accelerate, how designers work and what the profession will look like will change profoundly.