Business of Design in SA – A Recap

14 July 2021

On Tuesday 8 June, the ACA – SA Committee was delighted to host its popular annual Business of Design Lunch with guest speaker Emma Williamson from TheFulcrum.Agency. Three attendees offer a recap.

ACA SA’s Business of Design Lunch is a unique opportunity to hear prominent designers talking about their business. Previous speakers Sean Godsell and Kerstin Thompson shared fascinating insights into the connection between good design and good business practice.
This year we welcomed WA’s Emma Williamson, the co-founder of TheFulcrum.Agency, a creative consultancy founded in late 2018 that leverages community and social outcomes through evidenced-based design, strategy, advocacy and research.

The event was very well attended and guests found the presentation valuable. Simon Thomson and Marino Rossi (Thomson Rossi), Christie Bailey (Brown Falconer) and Josephine Evans (JPE Design Studio) offer their observations here.

Distilling core values

It was a very stimulating discussion on the path a practice takes from its early inception through to the changes that occur with growth and ambition. In this case, a mature realisation of what is actually important in terms of the core values the practice holds, and what it should be pursuing going forward.

It was certainly timely as we grapple with what the future of our business will be. It was great to hear the similarities to our own journey, the shared frustration of trying to break into the establishment, the endless and frustrating failed submissions that take up so much of our time, and the distilling of our own core values. The talk has helped to reinforce some of our own strategies around better engagement with and amongst our team, creating a shared purpose and becoming a preferred workplace for our directors, present and future, and our staff.

Simon Thomson & Marino Rossi
Thomson Rossi

Flexible and fearless

Fluid processes, responsive approach, continuously evolving, committed to values and fearless when it comes to ‘change’. These were my takeaways from Emma’s talk. Willing to walk new pathways, recognise if the fit is not right and head in a new direction. A path even less travelled this time. Forging ahead, fuelled by passion so deep that it makes the ‘unexciting projects’ meaningful and worthwhile. A small agile team of like-minded people, attracted to the value set and forging ahead in their own unique way. Engaging with our First Nations people in a different way, slowly, in conversation, not probing in search of a specific outcome. Allowing space for an unexpected and unanticipated outcome. Some magic, true collaboration, that might have little to do with architecture or design at all.

Christie Bailey
Brown Falconer


Enlightening discussion

I was a participant at the Business of Design Lunch with Emma Williamson, and found the presentation and discussion enlightening. Designing Practice is probably the most important project for architects and this was a great discussion that aligned everyone in the room.

Josephine Evans
JPE Design Studio Pty Ltd