What is Your Value Proposition?

By Nathan Johnson, AIA, NOMA, AIA Minnesota President

I frequently find myself perusing news stories on my phone during downtime, (i.e. late at night).  I recently came across a blog that explored the notion of pricing architecture like art. Architecture as art is a robust discussion, which has been going on in architecture circles for some time. However, it did pique my interest and made me think, “What is My Value Proposition? And how does that value proposition relate to my core values?”

As partner in an architectural practice, value is something that we are constantly thinking about. Are we focused on design? Are we focused on service? Are we focused on making money? We would like the answers to be Yes, Yes, and Yes, but in practice it is not that simple. I know personally if money was the primary thing that animated me, I would have followed many friends to Wall Street. A big part of my passion for architecture is that I believe we can make a difference and substantively impact the communities we practice in. I recognize that my internal values are continually shaping how others assess our firm’s value to them.

The communities where architects practice, as well as the architecture community itself, are diverse in many ways. At AIA Minnesota, we want to engage these diverse communities. We are currently planning the first in what we hope will be an annual series of Regional Meetings to make sure we are engaging members in all parts of the state. We are looking at our programming to make sure we are engaging a broad demographic of members and the public. Ultimately, we aim to bring maximum value to our members – whoever they are, wherever they live and work.

Bringing value to our members relates directly to our core values. In 2016, the AIA Minnesota board of directors started the process of looking introspectively and established these four core values:  Empathy, Inclusion, Integrity, Passion. In 2017, we did a top-to-bottom analysis to examine how well each of our committees and programs aligned with the core values. Based on that analysis, our Strategic Workplan for 2018-2020 was developed to provide maximum value to membership. In that work, just as in my personal work as an architect, our value proposition to our members and to external audiences is integrally related to our core values. As many have noticed, there have been substantial changes at AIA Minnesota specific to new committees, new programs, new initiatives – changes that are designed to strengthen our value proposition, in large part by being true to our core values. 

My question for members: What is Your Value Proposition?  How can AIA Minnesota support that value proposition? How can you support AIA Minnesota in realizing and maintaining our core values?

View the full March issue of Matrix.