City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Sketchbook: Fabrica Informal Annual Review 2013

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Well, almost one year in. Although I started formally at the beginning of November, I was well into planning and prep by this time a year ago. So now seems as good a time as any to review progress and post a series of reflections about work thus far.

This is the first in a series of posts running this week, reviewing some of the changes made, and the projects produced.

In short, it's really coming together. I've had to make some tough organisational decisions, which I won't go into here in too much detail but I will share many other things. We’ve just enacted a restructure, for instance, from discipline-based departments to thematic transdisciplinary studios.

But these restructures are the big obvious, if challenging, changes. I think the real work happens in all the small- and medium-sized changes in the cracks between those things. My favourite management quote is from Peter Drucker, doyen of such things:

"Culture eats strategy for breakfast."

Indeed. And although creating the appropriate structures and processes helps, it's the small things that create culture. The habits.

After a first six months of hard work, it was clear we were taking Fabrica forward into a new stage. But around June-July, some kind of threshold was reached, and a new momentum had been generated. It's funny how the work builds and releases like that. It's imperceptible at the time, but suddenly discernible as soon as you're over the threshold. 

And then August, which is a holiday for Fabrica (as it still is in much of Italy.) So it seemed the right time to reflect on the previous 11 months of work. I produced a poster covering those months prior to August 2013 (I started in November 2012, so it's not all under my leadership.) This was a kind of "thank you" to the team, and a summary of where we are. And yes, a poster as thank you is what happens when the boss is a designer, which is hardly efficient—but then there is more to life than efficiency.

Here it is (with a couple of secret events blurred out.) There is a lot there, and I'm really happy with much of it. But better, there's a lot more to come, and I'm incredibly excited about where we go next.


More Informal Annual Review posts to follow over the next few weeks.


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