Preliminary case study thoughts

I’ve been collecting sources and reading a lot recently as I gather my thoughts about my case study on WeWork. At the moment, the question I have in mind is “How can UX research and design be an integrated part of the design-build process in Architecture?”. Indeed, it seems like WeWork got this process down very effectively, and it’s worth exploring how they achieved that.

So far, I’ve done two things: collected a lot of articles and sources about WeWork (avoiding articles concerning their recent turmoil: those aren’t particularly relevant to my study.); and set up my case study template. Because this project is not directly related to my studies at University, I’m documenting my research and writings here, in lieu of a classroom and tutors – so feel free to follow along and join me. Independent collaborative team ftw!

I’ve come across some really insightful articles so far. I plan to approach the authors after I settle into some form of structure to the case study, and devise some good questions. In the meantime, I’m starting to fill my template with ideas, however likely they are to change.

Purpose

The purpose of the case study is to discover how an UX-focused architectural practice might operate through analysing methods applied by WeWork. 

Theory

I hypothesise that WeWork structured itself as a tech company and used tech development processes in an industry that is emphatically not tech. A consumer of tech, yes, but not tech.

Assumptions

I assume that architectural practice can maintain continuous success in the future by learning and applying tech business models, and avoid costly mistakes where tech models do not fit. Many tech business models revolve around a specific product or service: addressing a specific ‘pain point’ for their consumer, and using a lot of resources researching and developing solutions for that consumer. I think WeWork applied this way of thinking to office space, using architecture as a research and development tool. It is a method that de-glorifies architecture as a process, but ultimately re-glorifies architecture for the consumer.


That’s where I’m at with legible thoughts on the topic right now. I’ll keep reading and formulating and as always, I’m interested in receiving any great resource tip-offs you might know about! Feel free to message me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or via email. Next up, my case study template is asking me to identify the problems. Stay tuned.

Further reading

No, WeWork Isn’t a Tech Company. Here’s Why That Matters, Vijay Govindarajan and Anup Srivastava, Harvard Business Review, 21 August 2019

About Leonie Csanki

I am Leonie Csanki, a UX Designer based in Melbourne, Australia. I’m completing the Master of Architecture programme at the University of Melbourne, and hope to be running my own practice in the not-too-distant future.

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