Our biggest moment

“Employee ownership is about empowerment and being part of something bigger. It is also a quietly radical challenge to market norms on many fronts, from governance to where profit goes.”

Frazer Osment, Chair, LDA Design

LDA Design is employee owned. It is an exciting moment for us, and one to savour. Here, LDA Design Chair, Frazer Osment, explains what the move means for the shape of the business and our approach. 

We have always known that it is our people that define us. Now each member of our team has a say in how the business is run and the direction it takes. This gives us a strong sense of shared endeavour and common purpose. It is reflected in our new Charter, a call to action to bring our best, which describes the values we work to and charges us to act with urgency on climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

Employee ownership is about empowerment and being part of something bigger. It is also a quietly radical challenge to market norms on many fronts, from governance to where profit goes. It gives us an independent future and enables us to put creativity front and centre. Everyone is trusted for the things they are good at, and it is through our projects, and the quality of our thinking, that the values of our employee owners will be most clearly revealed. People working with an incentive to collaborate will always find the best outcomes.

The transition to employee ownership has enabled us to put in place robust new business structures designed to support our distinctive style of coaching leadership.

LDA Design’s mission for more than forty years has been to create great places and shape the world around us for the better. Our origins lie in landscape architecture, and our approach to landscape strengthens our strategic thinking and the services we offer.

Society is on the cusp of grasping the true meaning of landscape, which goes way beyond beauty and aesthetics. Landscape sustains life, and is the building block for healthy, biodiverse places that can also be net zero. It is also about belonging and how people and place are connected. As designers, place-makers and planners our role is to use landscape assertively to achieve change. By creating places where people belong, we can change lives for the better.

We are advocates of a more equitable future, and you will always find us arguing on the side of people and planet. Our focus is on the big issues facing society and meeting our clients’ needs, and getting behind the UK’s innovation, healthcare and learning economies. Big issues demand a fresh response – from rethinking water management and coastal regeneration, to reimagining inner-city estates; from creating new settlements, to designing a summer meadow in the heart of an historic city; from working to decarbonise transport, to facilitating greener energy.

Making a strong response to societal issues comes down to open minds and how well people work together. Employee ownership gives everyone at LDA Design the best opportunity to feel invested in and well-equipped to contribute to a brighter future.

In a world that seems increasingly uncertain, it feels hard to predict the future. As Abraham Lincoln said, however, the best way to predict your future is to create it. 

LDA Design's 'Big Get Together' summer 2019 credit Claire Borley / LDA Design

To mark this special moment in LDA Design’s history, Frazer spoke with LDA’s new Trust Chair, Jane Mitchell, in our first Talking Spaces podcast.

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