There is a school of thought which says that design is not a process which can be regulated or followed. Many designers like to believe that creativity and new thinking comes out of the blue at strange times of the day or night. Designers choose to believe that new ideas are instinctive and shun any suggestion that there can be a process which encourages innovative thought. There is some truth in these statements. I agree that innovation is not a process which if followed will inevitably leads to brilliant results. McDonalds has a process to deliver a perfect hamburger. It can be written down (when to turn on the cooker, how long before flipping the burgers, the exact repetitive recipe for the salads and sauces) when followed will result in the same quality every time. But the creative industries can learn from McDonalds and put processes in place which will result in greater creativity. Steve Jobs at Apple did this by getting the right people in the room at the right time. Berry Gordy achieved spectacular sustained creative results at Tamla Motown by implementing techniques he had learned on the Lincoln Mercury factory floor. The best advertising campaigns are as much a result of research and experience as a blinding light of inspiration.
Weston Williamson have developed established processes to give creativity and innovative thought the best chance to flourish. We believe that this can only be achieved by working together with all stakeholders and the local community and getting the right people in the room at the right time. Too often project leaders whether government bodies or private developers like to design in secret and then try to sell the scheme to other stakeholders. We have always found that the best results are achieved when local people and communities are involved from the beginning. If not resentment and reaction to what are seen to be established proposals are hard to dispel. Weston Williamson have developed a tried and proven system; EOS Elemental Optioneering System, which breaks down the project into elements which can be examined thoroughly in turn and combined to give optimum results. We find this dispels distrust and encourages collaboration. I sit on both sides of the fence at different times. I have always been involved in the local community groups wherever I have lived and worked. In my professional life I have often been the one presenting or discussing projects with the same or similar groups. I can appreciate both sides and believe that new technology can help dispel distrust as a digital twin can demonstrate what any part of a proposal will look and feel like on a sunny July afternoon or a wet Wednesday in November. Using virtual reality we can experience spaces and places and modify them before they are built. Consultation should take place early and honestly - it saves a lot of time and expense later.
In our thinking about the future, we always consider how projects are delivered. WW+P have brilliant designers but more importantly appreciate how projects are realised. We are constantly appalled and frustrated by the confrontational nature of our industry. We like to work with all stakeholders at the early stages rather than develop proposals to be discussed. We often invite local stakeholders to our studio to ensure at an early stage that local people and other stakeholders are involved and consulted.