Momentum for social entrepreneurship is exploding, even in the fields of architecture and design. As we look forward to the rest of 2013 and the continued expansion of the field, here’s a list of resolutions that "social architects" should be thinking about.
I was impressed by the intelligence and clarity of the "10 Resolutions For Social Entrepreneurs", written by Eli Malinsky, the executive director of the new "Centre for Social Innovation" in New York. Although I have been working for a little time in architecture communication, I will try to compile my personal list of "10 Tips" to get your work known in the world of social networking.
So close yet so far: I invite you to share your favorite and to propose your own corrections or additions.
1. TALK TO YOUR USERS
If you aren’t talking to your lovers (or friends... or followers...), you’re doing it wrong. Find ways to engage your users in program, product, and service design. The only way to be relevant is to ensure that you are grounded in the realities of your audiences. And remember that their needs change over time, you should be changing with them. (Even a young (and very talented) architect like Bjarke Ingels, who pays great attention to communication, seems to be wasting a goldmine of three hundred thousand likes on Facebook by not writing anything for months)
2. LOOK UPSTREAM
The time for navel-gazing is over and if we focus our communication on ourselves, then we will be even further away from the reality out there. The social and environmental challenges your projects are trying to address are often symptoms of larger systems. Try to go a layer deeper in your search for impact. No one has a solution to solve all the problems, but trying to explain your way to intervene in the issue, you’ll be two steps ahead. (An example? Japanese Pavilion - Home for All)
3. SHOW AND EVALUATE
The truth hurts. But it is super helpful. Find ways to get feedback on your work and on your performance as a team member. I studied at a university (a few years ago) where in order to learn about the projects of my professors I had to do research in library, between old monographs little updating and often deliberately cryptics. No matter how old you are or what you do, open your work! (Take a look at the profile of Ricardo Bofill: more than 70 years old, 100% complete (and exciting)!)
4. COMMIT TO IMPACT, NOT THE PROJECT
We all have a deep emotional connection to our work. But project success isn’t the only goal. You need to focus on the impact of your work. Whether that means refining, pivoting, or torching, do what you must to serve the greater good. We should not always win a contest, proving to be the best of all, sometimes you have to simply communicate our work honestly and clearly. (Torre David / Gran Horizonte it's a good example of this approach and... it won, among other things, an important international award).
5. EMBED AND AFFILIATE
The challenges we face will not be addressed by any single initiative. The most successful among us embrace our connections to complementary ventures. Identify who is in your ecosystem and find ways to plug into their efforts. Affiliating with others helps to secure your position while moving the needle with greater effect. (Archilovers has the mission to promote socialisation and let you communicate but above all to find new opportunities, multiply possibilities and expand the network).
6. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Humans enjoy sleep and sunlight and exercise, and also food and other people. Too many architects forget to pay attention to their personal well-being. Take a break from work and have some fun. You should look after yourself because it’s really the most important thing. (Not everyone has to respect the special work ethics of Louis Kahn: he often only rests for a few hours, sometimes sleeping at the office to be able to continue working straight away. Nothing new for many of us).
7. CONNECT TO WHERE YOU LIVE
Mybe it is wrong to think that the world of social networking is not real, but it certainly is not the only one. Even better, connect where you live. Our local neighborhoods are the building blocks of a more sustainable world. Shop where you live. Support local artists. Do at least one thing to connect your neighborhood and, in doing so, connect the world. (The world champion of Anti-Social architects, Peter Zumthor, who doesn't even have a website, has a constant visibility thanks to the quality of his work and the contributions of local craftsmen who work with him).
Through the careful and systematic organization of content you can get the attention of a wider audience and encourage potential customers. A clear result you get when you go from "search" to being "sought" (The officies that have become famous using Archilovers would deserve a separate chapter: young and open minded like for example la SHED or very refined like padovani maurice).
9. TAKE A RISK
The difference between those that do and those that do not often boils down to a willingness to take a chance. Let this be the year that you step out on a limb. Walk into the unknown and trust that the pathway will appear. You’ll never know unless you try. (What are you waiting for? Create your profile on Archilovers and begin your experience! The Archilovers Editorial Office can help you!)
10. INVENT SOMETHING
The world moves ahead when people create new things. Resolve to do something new in 2013. Something that could only happen because you made it happen. You have it in you.