Forces for Change in a Swiftly Evolving Professional Environment

Written by Charles Nelson - December 11, 2019

The world as we know it is changing rapidly. The present reality of design practice is that it is transforming at its fastest rate in architectural history. Our choices are to change with it, or risk becoming obsolete.

Design practice is in a precarious situation, and its importance is diminishing due to a combination of forces that are largely outside our control, with one main contributing factor being the expansion of the Information Age. The forces for change are tightly intertwined and create a powerful, disruptive array of consequential effects. Many practices are experiencing much difficulty in adapting to these exponentially growing changes.

In this rapidly and vastly changing world, people are going to be challenged and asked to do things differently. This, I can tell you, is inevitable. Your practice will need to implement an appropriate means of change management, whether this is based on an existing theory, or establishing some steps of your own such as using incentives and motivational strategies.

If you fail to provide the appropriate support, fearful employees are likely to oppose the changes being implemented. This resistance can range from being slower than normal when implementing the change to actively attempting to sabotage the process.

So what do these driving forces for change, and the trends they are producing, mean for the design profession? I summarise these forces for change into ‘five key parameters for practice’ that distinguish the firms that will survive and thrive from those that will not, in Chapter 1 of Managing Quality in Architecture, 2ndEdition. You can order my book from any good online bookstore. Book Depository offers a good discount as well as free shipping worldwide.

If you need help keeping up with the ever-changing aspects of design for construction, coupled with the doubling of information every TWO years, head to

Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA, AECPM

7 August 2018