We live in a society that constantly changes. Take for example a study that shows the world’s data doubles every two years—a result of 24 hour news, social media, and a growing population. Change is certainly a reality for us at NBBJ too. We’ve been in the business for 70 years and have come to believe organizations that flexibly respond to a world full of changing circumstances fare better in new space than those hesitant to adapt.
As part of the design services we provide, our firm is frequently asked to help client organizations with the development of what’s called adaptive capability. Requests range from “help our staff prepare for a new way of working” to “help us better equip ourselves to face an uncertain future.” In accommodating these requests and delving deeper into our clients’ needs, we rely on the tools and methods our firm has developed for the design of environments, to help us solve underlying organizational design challenges. Recently, we helped Chase Brexton, a Baltimore-based FQHC (federally qualified health center) outpatient provider, answer these questions and more through rapid prototyping.
Prototyping is core to how designers do their work: it involves moving from the world of abstract ideas, analysis, plans, and programmatic needs to the world of experiential things. When prototyping is extended to include users, it is proving to be highly successful in facilitating organizational development and change for our clients-- so while prototyping fits space to culture, it also changes the culture as part of the journey. It also improves the speed, quality and soundness of decision-making relevant to the core business issues an environment is intended to enable and support.
Increasingly we’ve been using full scale protoypes with our healthcare clients. With appropriately guided exercises, they can resolve flow issues, allow for the assessment of operational and staffing pitfalls, and provide for clinical simulations of both routine and emergent care.