For almost a year the team at Designblendz has been engaging in design competitions. As a collective we all found interest in the idea of competitions and the many challenges associated with them. This motivation to take on these new projects was coupled with a few guiding principles that have followed us for this year, and will continue to guide us moving forward:

 

  • Taking on competitions should offer a “new” challenge to us, that exercises our abilities as problem solvers. By allowing the competitions to help us develop as problem solvers, we become better designers for all facets of the field. This includes our client’s projects, and we’ve already experienced times where we have referenced our competition work to other work in our practice.
  • Competitions can be a “testing ground” for new processes in the organization. Using competitions as a way to practice a new process, or test out a new service, is a great way for us to work out any problems before unveiling the process to a client. Mindlessly practicing a skill rarely results in successful learning, but using the competitions as a way to channel our practice into a specific body of work allows us to learn faster and become more proficient with a process before it hits our clients. The most dramatic example of this is how we used the Observatory Houses competition as a way to test out new rendering processes, which have now developed into the standard for visualizations offered to clients as marketing material for their projects.
  • The process we go through with each competition is an evolving process. We don’t go into a competition with any expectations of what we will produce or what concept we will land on as our “big idea.” Each submission so far has been unique, and our goal has been to try different strategies with each. This way of looking at competitions as a dynamic process fuels us to learn from the successes and failures of each competition, and craft another unique process for the next one. At the end of each competition we take another look at our submission, and the other available competitor submissions, and comment on what was successful for each, as well as the shortcomings of each - including our own.

Taking on competitions this past year has been an exciting challenge, and we are only getting started. Stay tuned for what’s next!

About The Author

Jason is the competition specialist at Designblendz. He is in charge of entering competitions, and hosting competitions for the architectural community.