Philosophical differences: The case of architects' reluctance to use strategic planning software

Ray Wyatt*, Jim Smith, Peter E D Love

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


A briefing workshop was run in an effort to involve its participants in choosing a strategic direction, and eventual form, for a proposed facility. The workshop was an action research, participative process that sought to improve final design by preconsultation with some relevant stakeholders. This paper will specifically focus on our attempt to use strategic planning software at an early stage of such a workshop. It discusses and illustrates the difficulties of importing a new technique into an established, professional setting where activities and roles may be expressed, or assumed, on the basis of previous experience. More exactly, although we hoped to use our software to analyze and explore participants' design styles, and so predict their likely choice of design option, the architects present undermined such analyzes by playing a role rather than telling the software what they really thought about the various strategic choices. Hence it was, in some ways, a waste of time using our software. We speculate below whether such undermining might be symptomatic of deep philosophical differences between the workshop organizers, planners, and architects. We also examine whether such differences bode ill for the future of architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-142
Number of pages16
JournalSystemic Practice and Action Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


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