AIA Membership » President's Perspective

Architects in Commerce Research Initiative

Click here to upload the AICRI Cient Research Findings Report.

Now that you have had the opportunity to learn first-hand- via our Innovative Practice Forums - about the important key findings from the research commissioned by AIA Minnesota, you may be wondering “What’s Next?”

AIA Minnesota has just started on this journey to help its members to continue to be the leaders in their profession and in this industry. These Forums were just the first step. We wanted to share this information with you first. Now we plan to:

1) Gather more member feedback via surveys, polls, and interviews,

2) Share these findings with you – our members  - at the Annual Meeting at this November’s Convention,

3) AIA Minnesota will be creating a series of skills-building sessions to further enable our members to provide great value to their clients, and

4) Continue to engage both members and the public through a 2014 Public Relations Campaign with the goal of raising public awareness of the tremendous value that architects bring to the community and their clients, through their far-reaching expertise and experience.

The theme of the 2013 AIA Minnesota Convention & Exposition is “Inspire, Lead, Deliver”. This theme was crafted with a purpose. We want to build upon the enthusiasm that has been created during these past few months. It is up to each one of us to take this research and make our profession stronger. 
Watch for more information on these important initiatives and how you can take part. If you have feedback about the Forums or ideas for our "Next Steps", please send an email to Mary Larkin.


2013 Architects in Commerce (AICRI)
Developed to research and document perceptions of the architectural profession and the aspirations of AIA Minnesota Architects in order to develop strategies and tactics that will better enable AIA Minnesota architects to provide higher-valued services and be more impactful in business and commerce.

With this Task Force, AIA Minnesota continues the important work started two years ago by the AIA Minnesota Recovery Task Force (see information below). Click here to download the AICI Executive Summary.

The Architects in Commerce Research Initiative was conducted in 2012 under the guidance and direction of the Board of Directors. This research was confidential, third-party, phone-survey interviews of member architect clients. The goal of the research was to better understand what clients are seeking from architects and to help define the perceived value in the services we provide.


2010 AIA Minnesota Recovery Task Force
Completed in partnership with the Carlson School of Management to better understand our changing Architectural profession and to assist AIA members with information and ideas to help reduce expenses, expand services, and obtain work during the recovery from this severe economic downturn.
FINAL Recovery Task Force Report: October 2010 (pdf)
Recovery Task Force Observations: June 2010 (pdf)
Firm Principals Survey Results (12-pg pdf)
Town Hall Summary (pdf)

CARLSON School Reports
Carlson School Report (ppt)
Summary of Points from Carson School Report (pdf)
Carlson School Report: Contractor Results (ppt)


Ann Voda, AIA
2013 President of AIA Minnesota

January 2013
So long 2012. Each New Year holds the promise to be better than the last.

On our extended ride in the economic tilt-a-whirl, a little leveling-out would be welcome. One way to weather the ride successfully is to set our eyes on the horizon and take the long view. Viewed from the perspective of distance and time, we are not simply tilting incircles, but shifting toward a long range future - forever changed for architects.

Many of the changes in the way we practice and the way we deliver the value of design were already foreseen and are being implemented. New methods of collaborating, supported with (expensive!) new technology, are underway. In contrast to building booms of the past where the emphasis was often on quantity, the current emphasis is to improve the quality of new and existing structures, by designing with our communities and future generations in mind. Shifting generational demographics will result in possibly the most profound changes of all, not only as they affect our clients’ needs, but as they impact the way we practice. AIA Minnesota has been intentional in its steps to predict these trends and help members help themselves through the swirl of change. We continue to advance and broaden the worth of our members and the value of our work with the Architects in Commerce Initiative commenced under the leadership of Jon Buggy. The idea was to understand how AIA Minnesota architects could be an in-demand resource in business and commerce. To do so, we needed to understand what our clients value in our services. So - we asked them.

The results of our survey vary from predictable to eye-opening and I encourage you to review the Architects in Commerce Executive Summary available at

Our clients value us for a variety of reasons. The majority of those surveyed want architects to function as their partners, not their vendors. The survey results suggest that to be valuable we have to go beyond building design. We have to broaden our view of our own worth and we may have to change. Yes, more change.

It’s a short year ahead, surely more excitement in store. Taking the long view, AIA Minnesota will continue to help members navigate meaningful change and level out the twists and turns to our future.

-- Ann Voda, AIA, AIA Minnesota President



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