Last week (14 November), The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) held its annual Guerrilla Tactics conference at their London headquarters for over 200 SME architects. The conference theme — ‘the power of small’ — asked the questions, as a small architectural practitioner, ‘how can you overcome the limits on your time and resources and turn size and deftness to advantage? By becoming more efficient, is there a way that your practice can gain commercial benefit from what you are currently doing, so you retain more profit? Is it possible to not just survive, but to achieve growth and profitability and punch above your weight?’
Highlighted in the closing session as one of the stand-out revelations around the power of small theme, was a comment by Sam Bernard, global category director for Dyson Professional. He said they [Dyson] still consider themselves to be a small business, despite employing more than 7,000 people. This mindset has enabled them to remain agile in what they do and they consider it a key advantage over competitors.
We had a wonderful time meeting architects ranging from sole practitioners to businesses with up to 30 staff. Synergy is designed to enable SME architectural practices be mobile, nimble and connected, so conversations were very much on topic with the event content. Conversations revolved around the need for keeping information in one common environment, getting a firm grasp on financial performance, creating efficient processes in your business, and the increasing need for collaboration, no matter how large your practice is.
For us at Total Synergy, it was our first adventure into the UK market with our all-new cloud practice and project management software, Synergy. We teamed up with our partners Microsoft UK and Drawboard and splashed Synergy across Microsoft’s Surface device family, along with Drawboard’s Bullclip PDF markup tool. It was a great opportunity to get feedback on the new integration between Synergy and Bullclip that enables cloud document storage and markup functionality. It proved to be quite popular!
It was invaluable to discuss the issues that are current for architecture practices and to be able to show Synergy on a range of devices varying in size and wow factor — the Surface Studio really is a slick device, both in form and function. With the event named Guerrilla Tactics, we thought we’d have some fun with that and brought along some stylised paper planes with our very own Wingman, with the idea to fly them around the event space. While we didn’t launch the paper plane storm we were hoping for (probably a good thing!) we did manage to see immediate past president of RIBA Jane Duncan (@JaneDuncan41) throw a plane into the crowd. The delegates on the day had fun seeing if they could fold the planes, throwing the odd one, and taking them home for the kids.
We’ll be sure to take them to the next RIBA event we go to, and this time they’ll really take off… (ahem). If we can persuade Microsoft to bring a few hundred HoloLens headsets for protective eyewear, we could really have some fun!