Stop, Collaborate, and Listen
“Wellness” (aka biophilia) is a growing movement, centering smart tech design around people and the overall state of wellness that they have in a space. This design philosophy affects how spaces are composed in a more holistic way, which requires more collaboration between more trade partners.
As technology integrators, we are accustomed to working with many people on a project. The wellness movement, however, amplifies our connection to other professionals. While creative opportunities remain abundant, managing priorities and client expectations is a delicate balance. This can be achieved with a little help from hip-hop: stop, collaborate, and listen.
When priorities collide, progress halts. If this happens during a project that you are working on – stop – take time to reflect on the ultimate goal. Wellness is about people and is meant to address 10 concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind, and community. This comprehensive set of concepts may negate some of the ideas and products that you typically provide. While a solution you pose might seem to be the best – in technology, materials, design, or budget – it may not be the best for the people in the space. Remember, it’s not about your mission; it’s about the mission.
This is where creative problem-solving and collaboration come into play. Collaboration means “to labor together.” It’s time to put ego on the shelf; there is a specific reason why you are on a particular project with a specific project team. As a professional, you will already take time to understand the needs of the project itself.
I also encourage you to take the time to understand the needs of the project team members. What influences the success of your designer on the project – or the general contractor? How can you help this along? The end result is owned (and celebrated) by everyone, not one shining star. Working together is the only option, and by adopting this mindset at the forefront of the project you set yourself – and your team – up for success.
Once you have the mindset to work together as a team, you will be better able to listen and empathize with your team members. Listen for insights, such as client quirks or if the atmosphere of onsite relationships has shifted. Pay particular attention to how your process may need to change or adopt to match the reality of the situation. A few years ago, I had an “ah-ha” moment after working with a designer on a project. We were involved early – in her perspective – and the client was getting overwhelmed with options. The designer asked me, “They don’t even know how their kitchen will look; how can they envision using their home electronics?” Ding! Our process moved too quickly for comfortable decision-making. Listening to this designer changed how we sell, discuss, and implement our projects – all because of one question she asked.
Wellness includes thoughts and design intentions that enable a better lifestyle. When you accomplish this, celebrate it with your team. Share what it took to get there with others and tell the story about how working together built something unique, special, and bespoke. Enjoy the secret behind it, knowing hip-hop inspired the whole thing. After all, anything less than the best is a felony.