One of the themes for this year’s International Women’s Day is balance for better. This message of inclusivity is powerful, and resonates with us greatly.
2019 is a watershed moment for LDA Design. As we mark our 40th anniversary, we have made the decision to move to Employee Ownership. It is a profound change in the way we organise ourselves, one that gives a clearer voice to everyone within the organisation. With responsibilities shared, it will create a more balanced place to work.
Our decision to move to employee ownership comes at a time when society grows ever more polarised. However, our working life has the power to bind us together, to build community. We are convinced employee ownership will further our understanding of the changes in society and strengthen our response.
At LDA Design, we recognise the benefits of balance in the makeup of our teams. Our Executive is now happily gender balanced and two new promotions to the role of Office Director – Justine Leach in our Oxford office and Sophie Thompson in Exeter – means our leadership better reflects the organisation. We know that better balance makes us stronger.
And when it comes to our work, balance is critical. To create great places where people belong we need to get under the skin of a place. We need to understand exactly how it will be used and by whom. The more perspectives and voices we can draw on to inform our thinking, the better the outcomes will be.
So, we need to know the best route for a mum or dad to walk their child to school and if it feels a lonely place after drop off. We need to know what would appeal to an energetic ten-year-old once school is out, or how an elderly couple can be made to feel safe, and valued. These voices and many, many more shape what we do. The more life experiences we ourselves can bring the better.
Today, we join the call for – and the celebration of – better balance. As we will do tomorrow, next month, and next year. It is not just our direction of travel, it is the only way to travel.
Photo: Some of our Exeter team enjoying a coffee at the water’s edge, 2019