Whether it’s in front of a vacant retail unit, after a failed planning application or inside an empty show flat or office floor, the development industry has plenty of expensive places to have arguments about direction and strategy. But in fact there’s a much cheaper and more effective forum for these decisions and it’s as close as the boardroom.
“It’s time to stop the siloed thinking. Developers must bring the creation of a shared vision to front and centre. You must know what you’re doing, and why. ”
Vision and its confident execution are the keys to a successful and profitable place. Project teams must establish an overarching vision and purpose that connects every development decision. Then, this shared vision must be deployed confidently from planning through design, construction, completion, operation and activation.
Most of the failures evident in so many developments today aren’t due to a shortage of talent or ambition – there’s no shortage of talent in development teams. They identify sites, run viability appraisals, establish the minimum quantum of space required to make a project viable, and run the technical process of development brilliantly. The problem often arises when their next step is to outsource the project vision to the design team.
Architects can bring incredible insight and creative responses, but invariably, they perform best when they are realising or interpreting a powerful vision. When the task of creating a project vision is delegated to the design team, there’s often a misalignment between a developer’s objectives and an individual’s concept. All too often, this misalignment can either result in mediocrity, or in expensive design fees or wasted time as both sides iterate towards a consensus.
Development is one of the few industries that often fails to ask four critical questions at the outset of a project:
- What is this place?
- Who is it for?
- Why will they come?
- How will we deliver it?
Instead, developers often jump straight from the quantum of space to its design, neglecting to define a shared vision. Later, a project milestone such as an impending launch necessitates an idea be shoehorned in at the eleventh hour – often by an outside consultant tasked with marketing, leasing or operating an already defined or executed product.
It’s time to stop the siloed thinking. Developers must bring the creation of a shared vision to front and centre. You must know what you’re doing, and why.
Although developing a vision at any stage of the development process is helpful, establishing a clear vision at the outset can accelerate development decision making throughout the project. This builds a sense of place more quickly, drives up long-term value and helps to mitigate any misalignments on what the place is trying to achieve.
This mission underpins everything we do at MurrayTwohig. Our specialism is elevating high-performing teams to rapidly resolve the issues and obstacles that can otherwise take busy development teams years to address. Our work processes help development teams secure community support, fast track planning approvals, secure large tenancies and achieve premium values above adjacent developments. We work with some of the world’s leading developers, including Tishman Speyer, Great Gulf and Related Group, to develop and deliver inspiring place visions.
The development industry is waking up to the power of owning the project vision – and we are excited to be driving the change for better buildings, places and cities.