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KA Connect 2015 a great option for AEC firms

Mark Busse – No Comments

Last May, we attended KA Connect in San Francisco and felt it was one of the best events we’d attended in recent memory.

The event, hosted by KA Architecture (creators of the A/E social intranet platform Synthesis) was entertaining, participatory and highly informative mix of ideas, strategies, tactics, and discourse.

KA Connect offered wisdom from a range of thought leaders and integrated audience participation and group sharing on a variety of subjects. We were inspired and highly recommend placing KA Connect 2015 near the top of your conference planning this year.

Highlights from KA Connect 2014

Our friend Jason Mlicki, principal of the marketing agency Rattleback, gave a superb talk called The A/E Firm Website of 2015 and wrote up a terrific review of the conference called 7 Macro Insights from KA Connect 2014.

The apex of the event for us was Bob Buday’s talk on thought leadership marketing in the consulting industry. He shared the story of the meteoric rise and rapid demise of CSC Index based on its investment in thought leadership. Buday’s talk brought great insight about the critical role that thought leadership can play in the marketing and operations of an A/E firm.

I’ve said, and written on this blog for years, that commoditization is a very real and very large problem for professional service firms of all stripes. After KA Connect, there was no doubt in my mind that commoditization continues to be a major problem from many firms in the AEC industry. “Fees have not recovered to 2006-2007 levels … It’s a 10 year race to bankruptcy,” said Dan Noble, HKS.

Quotables from KA Connect 2014

  • “More radioactivity has been put out by coal dust than all the nuclear power plants (including disasters) over time.” — Alexander Rose, The Long Now Foundation.
  • “Nobody ever went home because the paint stopped working.” — Alex Serriere, Teecom, on the critical importance of technology to the success of a building.
  • “Millenials have a preference to access over ownership; they’re more concerned about losing their phone than losing their car.” — Bruce Haldors, Transpo Group, on the changing relationship of consumers to cars and the open road.
  • “We’re great at sharing, we joint venture with each other all the time. Yet, we’re horrible at collaborating.” — Steve Burrows, WSP USA, on the challenge of AEC firms working together to deliver the best overall experience and outcomes to the client.
  • “Thought leadership has changed the way we hire and the skill sets of people we hire. We avoid rainmakers … Thought leadership is part of our business strategy. Every proposal we prepare is laden with thought leadership. We’ve been vested in thought leadership for 4-5 years. And, the last 2 years have been the most successful in our firm’s history. We think that’s a more sustainable model than a relational or fee-based one.” – Carl Davis, Array Architects.

Check out the speaker lineup for KA Connect 2015 and get your tickets now!