Involve key stakeholders at an early stage and continue dialogue
Debbie Callaghan, LSC regional property adviser (west midlands)
When planning and designing technology-rich learning spaces you should talk with as many stakeholder groups as possible and, more importantly, listen to what they have to say. Your list of stakeholders could be very long and so you need to take time to identify suitable people. Some people need to be involved from the earliest ideas stage whereas others will have more to contribute once you have some proposal on which they can comment.
You do however need to make it clear to stakeholders that consultation does not mean that all their wants have to be included. Indeed the great danger is that the project becomes an amalgam of disparate ideas with no real focus. That is why it is so important to have a strong, clear vision to guide the project and make sure that flexibility is safeguarded.
That’s why projects need strong champions that can use ideas to strengthen and modify the vision and prevent it from being derailed. Talk to everyone but make sure that you use what you hear to build on the vision.
The iron rule of planning is: whatever a client or architect says will happen with a building, won’t. Architects always want to control the future. So do clients… The only reliable attitude to take toward the future is that it is profoundly, structurally, unavoidably perverse. The rest of the iron rule is: whatever you are ready for doesn’t happen; whatever you are unready for, does.
Have a multi-professional approach; get the early support of your ICT department and academic community
Margaret Weaver, University of Cumbria