Is It True?

January 4, 2012 · by DesignIntelligence

We asked industry leaders to rate the following statements true or false and share their insight.

Design technology will profoundly impact the design professions.                        

98% TRUE

Technology is something of a Pandora’s box. While it tempts us with the promise of increased quality and productivity, decreased waste, and a more profound connection to the client, technology can also portend danger for the architectural profession. As the impact of technology continues to escalate, contractors are taking more responsibility for the production of the BIM model, and with it, responsibility for the technical documentation of projects.

The future of architecture and design belongs to the large and megalarge firms that offer integrated services.  


Not necessarily, because while size holds promise in many ways, being big is not always an advantage. More important is that firms are both right-sized and can boast a solid track record. Firms with a reputation for being masters of particular project types or that can offer unique service delivery will always be in demand, particularly those that have learned to partner strategically to fill experience voids. Smaller firms are often more nimble, flexible, and efficient.

Small and medium-sized firms are at a disadvantage.

53% TRUE

Not a strong consensus here, but the majority of A/E/C leaders feel that small and medium-sized firms are at a disadvantage in terms of international and very large commissions. It can be harder for smaller firms to provide the level of service expected from clients while still making a profit. However, niche firms can thrive, particularly if they create strategic partnering arrangements that add depth to their in-house skill set. New firms may find advantage by leveraging technology and innovation.

Asia-based firms will effectively compete in North America.    


This isn’t a concern just yet, with many leaders noting that Asian firms are currently lagging U.S. firms in technology implementation and expertise. Culture, including the lack of an innovation imperative and deep design cache, also works against Asian firms today; however, that won’t always be the case. Over time, Asian firms will find a foothold as they develop deeper collaborations with firms they have worked with in the past and leverage their enviable productivity.

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