2 June 2012 | Posted inBlog News & Updates
Posted by Deborah
I’m now into investigating and writing for my dissertation, which is tentatively titled ‘Succession Management in Design Firms’. I’ve been doing a lot of reading for the past five months on this subject, while researching and preparing work for my other courses, but I’m now able to focus solely on this. We have three months from beginning to end for our dissertations, which is not much time. However, I want to try a few things that I haven’t done previously, just to see how effective they were.
In order to kick off my primary research I wanted to do a Focus Group with some designers at the HOK London office and was really happy that Beate agreed to facilitate it for me and get a few people in a conference room over lunch so I could pick their brains. We ended up with a great group from a young designer not long out of school (especially when you think that I graduated 35+ years ago) right up to the Management Principle. I’ve been reading about Mind Maps and wanted to try using this technique to get ideas from the group. The Mind Maps we made in this session were not pretty and as per the guidelines around making them, I will redo them and make the structure more cohesive. Hopefully they will then be more visually dynamic and I can use them in my thesis. I’m not sure if the Mind Map technique worked any better than a regular brainstorming session, but we did come up with some concepts that reinforced the secondary research I’ve been reading about around Leadership and what’s needed for design firms that’s different from other companies. People Skills, Communication Skills and Humility were deemed to be the most important qualities needed in a Leader, especially due to the democratic nature of a design practice where every designer believes in themselves and figures they have something to say. We’re taught to develop our ideas and believe in them, so managing these types of people is certainly a challenge, but one that makes a leader grow as well.
Thanks to Beate, Stephanie, Lara, Rob, Claire and Wynne for participating and Adeline for making the arrangements for me.