IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 25

The Consulting Advantage
Designers who have added consulting to their repertoire believe it substantially enhances their ability to provide effective and creative solutions for clients.

By Ernest Beck | Illustration by Jesse Lefkowitz

W

hen the University of Washington decided to install a mass-notification warning system at its Seattle campus as part of an effort to coordinate its emergency response system for fires and public safety threats, the logical choice for the work might have been a company that specializes in high-tech security. After all, the project entailed connecting 140 buildings with alarm systems and video monitoring devices, and integrating the systems to ensure campuswide communications. yet the job went to Seattle firm EHS Design, a company that offers full-service strategic consulting as well as design and architecture services. The recently completed project was a big win for EHS, one that “reflects a coming together of the worlds of design and consulting,” says company chief executive Jack Emick. At EHS, “Design and consulting feed into each other and lead to piles of design work. It’s a newfound gold mine,” says Emick. In addition to security, EHS’s consulting services extend to retail banking, where the firm’s strategic work includes market and competitor analysis, and branch audits. Such specialized services, along with offerings more common to design consultancies—such as corporate space planning— are providing stability for design firms roiled by the latest

recession. For small and medium-sized firms, like the 40-person EHS, adding strategic services “was born out of past downturns and this one,” according to Emick. In this context, consulting practices takes up the slack of the more fallow ones. And while the economy may have caused clients to hold back on building out new spaces, many design firms have discovered that these clients still need strategic services to help them resize, relocate, or plan for uncertain futures. The Design Edge Meanwhile, many large architecture firms that have offered these services for a while continue to expand their consulting practices, adding more comprehensive services around real estate analysis, change management, and workplace strategy, for example. These firms can end up competing against specialist consultants, such as McKinsey for management/operations and Jones Long LaSalle for real estate—as well as companies like Knoll and Steelcase for furniture and space planning. However, design firms are able to provide a range from strategy to design services for a project, providing one stop for clients. In so doing, consulting becomes a value-added service while also potentially generating increased revenue. How are design firms adding consulting services? It varies, but often by hiring staff trained in management consulting, real estate planning, or related fields, and teaming them with designers with strong strategic skills. Frequently,

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011

IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011
From IIDA
Contents
Q&A
The Virtuous Circle
Hybrid Professionals
The Consulting Advantage
Trending Research
As the World Turns
MythBusters
Design Decoded
Resources
Viewpoints
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Cover2
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - From IIDA
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 2
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Contents
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 4
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 5
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Q&A
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 7
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - The Virtuous Circle
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 9
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 10
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 11
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 12
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 13
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 14
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 15
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Hybrid Professionals
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 17
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 18
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 19
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 20
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 21
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 22
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 23
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - The Consulting Advantage
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 25
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 26
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 27
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Trending Research
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 29
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 30
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 31
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 32
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 33
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - As the World Turns
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 35
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 36
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 37
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 38
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 39
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 40
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 41
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - MythBusters
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 43
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 44
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 45
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 46
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 47
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Design Decoded
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 49
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 50
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 51
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Resources
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 53
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 54
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - 55
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Viewpoints
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Cover3
IIDA Perspective - Spring/Summer 2011 - Cover4
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