Defining success in the new normal

10 Mar 2021

Defining success in the new normal

This week is the second anniversary of the formation of Fuse Architects. Combined with the recent announcements about the potential exit route from the lockdown and the sun shining we have been taking stock and thinking about what we have achieved and where we are going.

We have, as Penny’s blog last week, experienced many positive changes to the way we work in the last year. The efficiencies of virtual meetings, our volunteering, our check-ins. As we look at moving forward into a lockdown free life we are asking what the value is of what we are doing, what does success mean, what do we actually want from our practice, and work, and business?

What if we set our definition of success beyond finite financial profit (or just surviving as the last year) and started measuring success from an ethical standpoint, a social value position, happiness, contribution to society, sustainability and carbon reduction? What if our KPIs were like the Bhutan Happiness Index? How can embracing this type of infinite success in this way improve our business and wider society as a whole?

It is our responsibility to deliver work that contributes to a better world. Not all of us will get the opportunity to work on community projects, but all of us can look at how we can incorporate social responsibility in the everyday - how do we embed sustainability, ethical practice, social value in the everyday, the ‘ordinary’ design commission?

With the recent work we have completed with our rented affordable housing Net-Zero Carbon houses we are really thinking about how we can embed social values, equality and diversity and ethical practice in the everyday. How this can create a stronger, more sustainable business model, wider societal improvements and happier and healthier lives for us, our clients and users.

Working in architecture, designing and creating, is a privilege as it impacts so many people. We have talked many times about our ‘people first practice’ philosophy and that really started with our staff, our people. We are now beginning to see how that deep rooted philosophy actually ripples out to people first in the way we approach projects, people first in the design decisions we make or the way we communicate or the decisions we make.

We know it all sounds all a bit utopian and naively idealistic but what is exciting is that in reality we are seeing that post-lockdown, post-pandemic, lots and lots of clients and consultants and planners and people generally are realising that embedding people-first practice in architecture is the key to longer term success.