The start of a new year is always an ideal time to ponder the past, plan for the future, and reflect on the present. Perhaps this is especially true now. In autumn 2013, AIBC Council unveiled its new 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, which outlines goals for the institute over the next several years. This provides a powerful anchor for council’s upcoming work, and I look very much forward to the process that lies ahead. Now that our vision is formalized, we can begin the implementation phase.
The strategic plan is an initiative driven by council, but its effects will be shared and enjoyed by all practitioners, as well as the public at large. Council’s goal is that this document will provide an umbrella-like platform to guide the institute’s work in a productive and clear fashion. In essence, it’s a comprehensive five-year plan that clearly prioritizes how and where council should place its efforts.
You may wonder: does the institute really need a strategic plan? Why now? My response would be that all organizations benefit from clear direction and agreed-upon priorities. In the case of the institute, it’s been many years since we’ve introduced a fully formalized strategic plan. Quite simply, the time has come to re-assess our needs, while re-focussing on the institute’s primary mandate as a regulator in the public interest.
The strategic plan initiative began back in January 2013. A committee consisting of both AIBC Council and staff was formed to discuss the matter in detail. We then hired consultant Scott W. Fitzsimmons, who is based out of the Vancouver office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, to facilitate the development process over the next three or four months. Scott’s expertise in the not-for-profit sector, performance management and strategy development / execution matched our needs well, and we were able to identify our desired goals, initiatives and measurable outcomes. We were also able to specify which participants would need to be involved as the plan moved forward.
As a result of our efforts, council was able to introduce the new strategic plan in a preliminary phase at the June 1, 2013 AIBC Annual Meeting held in Vancouver. Council reviewed the plan again later in the summer, and then formally approved it on September 19, 2013.
I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly summarize some of the highlights of our new strategic plan – including its five major goals. Under each goal, I’ve identified a couple of the associated strategic initiatives, as well as some of the anticipated outcomes.
Goal #1: Modernized Regulatory Regime
This goal is meant to modernize the regulatory regime governing the profession of architecture in B.C. through engagement and dialogue with stakeholders. The goal here is also to strengthen policies, bylaws and rules surrounding the institute and the profession. Through a series of strategic initiatives such as stakeholder engagement, it is hoped that this goal will result in a number of positive outcomes for the public and the profession. Among them: increased clarity and vibrancy surrounding the profession; public protection; and streamlined administration.
Goal #2: Vibrant Membership
With this goal, council aims to build a diverse, inclusive, active and engaged membership base while strengthening the profession and providing value to society. The strategic initiatives that will help get us there include reviewing the Internship in Architecture Program as well as developing approaches to better engage and energize the existing membership. Through these efforts council hopes to better serve members and the public by fostering a culture that is relevant, informed, engaged and connected.
Goal #3: Regulatory Identity
This goal is focussed on articulating the AIBC’s role in self-regulation of the profession in such a way that members and government understand and value the institute’s core regulatory purpose. The strategic initiatives we will employ include continued proactive engagement with relevant government entities, members and post-secondary architecture students. It is expected that such initiatives will result in clarity and understanding of the role and services provided by the AIBC, while also supporting the institute’s function in upholding high standards within the built environment.
Goal #4: Public Interest Outreach
The core of this goal involves elevating the public’s understanding of the profession; it is also geared toward ensuring that the AIBC’s role and value as related to the built environment is clear. By defining public interest advocacy (and where it begins and ends for the AIBC), and proactively managing public dialogue and policy development opportunities, we aim to create a stronger AIBC voice and influence with the hope of nurturing better relationships between the public and the profession.
Goal #5: Institutional Excellence
The goal here is to continuously improve all aspects of how the AIBC functions. This includes aspects related to culture, inclusivity, finance, transparency, governance, accountability and program delivery. To this end, council will examine its own governance, incorporate principles of sound board management, and develop a council performance plan. It is expected that such measures will help to ensure that the AIBC remains a sustainable resource for all members and the public.
The goals, initiatives and outcomes listed above are just a taste of the many ways in which the new strategic plan will assist the institute as it moves forward in the coming years. You might have noticed that there are many inter-connections between the goals, initiatives and expected outcomes referred to above. Indeed, all aspects of the plan are meant to complement and support each other. I urge you to take a few moments to review the document in full online.* This will provide you with a better understanding of its scope and significance. I also invite you to consider the ways that you might participate in the process and benefit from the outcomes.
At this stage, council has instructed AIBC Executive Director Michael Ernest Architect AIBC to incorporate the strategic plan at the operational level. There is much work ahead, and I look forward to being a part of it alongside my fellow councillors. Being on council is my way of giving back to the profession, and it’s my pleasure and privilege to do so in the public interest.
With best wishes for a positive and productive New Year,
Scott Kemp Architect AIBC
President – AIBC Council