Leading the Design Firm

This course introduces GSD students to the business side of the design industry and attempts to highlight both the ways in which a design firm is a business like any other as well as its unique cultural, strategic, and financial characteristics. Topics to be addressed this year include:Module 1: Starting A New Firm A) The Basics StepsB) Pitching, Pricing, and Negotiating Your First CommissionC) Delivering Your First Design Commission: Integrated Project Delivery and Risk ManagementModule 2: Managing A FirmA) Firm Growth and Diversification: What Kind of Firm Do You Want to Be?B) Good Design is Good Business: Design Excellence and Economic ViabilityC) Understanding the ClientModule 3: Advanced TopicsA) Integrating Design and StrategyB) Firm Culture, Creativity, and InnovationC) Sustainability as a Design Market DriverThe course will offer a combination of Lectures, Case Studies, and Group Exercises and include guest lectures by the leaders of prominent firms that offer professional services in the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, planning, engineering, construction/project management, and/or environmental consulting.Student work will be comprised of short team assignments at the end of each module and a final project at the end of the semester. Examples of student assignments include:A) Pitching, pricing, and negotiating your first design commissionB) Prepare and present an integrated project management plan to a hypothetical client.C) Analyze and describe, with examples, the culture of a firm you have worked with or research a firm of your choice.D) Prepare a short business plan that explains step by step how you will start and fund your new firm.