What is Organization Design

One of my life mottos is: “Anything can happen”. And here I am, my first Blog post ever, and I never thought I would write one in my entire life, of course.

And definitely I never thought my first blog post would be about Organisation Design. Such an unattractive subject. But a very crucial one, once it’s clear what it is. I myself spent some time wondering if what I wanted to do had definition that I could make my own; if the job I had been thinking about for so long had a title; if there were resources and literature that I could study in order to develop my idea. After quite some investigation, I came across Organisation, or Organisational, Design.

Naomi Stanford, one of the main authors in the field, defines Organisation Design as “how people and work are organised to carry out an organisation’s strategy and achieve its aims”. So far so good. But what it means really, why is it necessary and how is it developed and implemented? And how could it be useful for architectural practices?

In our reality, companies and enterprises are opened and closed daily, start-ups grow at an exponential rate, as so they shut down. There are a lot of factors that can help a company succeed, and many which can bring it to an untimely death, but according to many researchers there is one important condition for success: a good design.

A good design is not only about having a good idea, as we architects know far too well. A good design is about connecting the dots, about fulfilling a specific programme in an efficient and flexible way, bringing together aspects which wouldn’t seem to belong together at first glance. So, you need: (1) a good idea, an idea that fulfils a given request, (2) a process which enables the idea to reach its maximum potential, (3) a context which allows the process to happen, and (4) a design which is effective but flexible enough to adapt to ever-changing scenarios. A good design is generally a holistic process, where creativity as well as know-how and practical thinking come together as one, and where innovation and revenue are created.

A good organisation design enables this process, takes into consideration the business strategy and the context and builds the blue print for a company to achieve its goals. Whether we are talking about procedures, dynamics, information flows, knowledge sharing, informal connections or customer care, the design supports the company developing every part of its being. The great strength of Organisation Design is that it thrives by implementing the vision at the core of the business, and by focusing on the major asset to any company, its people. 

A sustainable and organic attitude towards our businesses is crucial in the reality we are operating in nowadays, and Organisation Design can be a useful tool to stir the way we develop and envision our practices.

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