Inspiration from Outside the A/E Box
We’ve made the point that we’re not just an A/E firm—we’re also a tech firm. New hardware and software helps drive our practice into the 21st century. But there are others ways in which fields that don’t involve hard hats inspire us and help change our professional perspective and methods.
When it comes to integrity and quality of service, Chubb insurance provides some inspiration. You’re not likely to see many commercials for the company, and they don’t have a cartoon gecko to lend corporate cuteness. But at the end of the day, as one of our principals can attest, once you’ve had a claim serviced by Chubb, you’ll never insure with anyone else. That’s our aim: We want clients who experience our design documents and project management, driving projects that are on time and on budget, to come back to us, again and again.
Another source of inspiration for our approach to securing—and keeping—clients is the restaurant industry. When our offices were based on Union Square, some of us dined occasionally at the Gramercy Tavern. Paul recalls that the Tavern’s knack for treating first-time diners with the same welcoming and accommodating service as longtime visitors stood out as a secret to their success. (It also didn’t hurt that their food was some of the best in the city—even the reasonably priced Tavern room). We’ve followed Gramercy’s lead ever since, offering the same level of professional service to clients from their first project to their tenth.
The Tavern offered another bit of inspiration. When one of us occasionally requested something off-menu, the Tavern’s staff didn’t scoff. Instead, the maître d’ welcomed the challenge, saying, ”We love the opportunity to do something special for our customers.” SUPERSTRUCTURES has embraced that spirit, constantly searching for products and technologies that enable us to treat our clients as something special.
Speaking of influence from the tech realm, consider Apple’s Steve Jobs. He was famous for his omnivorous appetite for design inspiration, absorbing everything from the Bauhaus to Zen Buddhism. His menu also included Cuisinart: seeing one of the brand’s food processors at Macy’s, he excitedly told his design team to buy one as a model for the Apple II’s aesthetic. Jobs and his team didn’t look to their own industry (extremely limited at the time) for inspiration; they looked to a food processor rather than a data processor.
The lesson for SUPERSTRUCTURES? We to look to fields beyond our own for inspiration and innovation, because the alternative is to follow the pack.