Best Practices and Big-picture Thinking

April 1, 2003
Anita L. Barnett, FIIDA

Best Practices and Big-picture Thinking

In today's economy, associations, like design firms, need a strong strategic direction to help them balance past strengths with future opportunities. Strategic thinking must be a part of more than just an annual retreat of leaders, but incorporated into a day-to-day commitment to best practices and big-picture thinking. For IIDA, this strategic model is based on a global perspective that both leads and serves our members and reinforces our core commitment to the knowledge, advocacy and community of interior designers. Understanding the value of education and research has been at the heart of IIDA's knowledge focus since the association's inception. Educated members make informed, safe and creative decisions resulting in knowledge-based solutions for the public. Through IIDA's CEU requirements, the association is able to attract and retain scholarly, committed individuals who are leaders in their area of design practice. Educated members are indispensable to the design profession, and IIDA is committed to the life-long learning and continuous professional development of our members. Events and activities that produce concrete deliverables to contribute to the profession's body of knowledge are central to this knowledge commitment. Our members are leaders in their firms and in their practice areas, and IIDA supports this specialization through our forums: Corporate; Education and Research; Facility Planning and Design; Government; Healthcare; Hospitality; Residential; and Retail. A sustainability advisor works cross-forum to advocate for responsible design across practice specialty. Forums are the delivery mechanism for IIDA educational programming and are the individual's opportunity to actively participate in an exchange of ideas. As members look to expand their practices or focus on specific specialty areas, the forum network can be an indispensable resource (visit A passion for advocacy is another key element of the association's strategic direction. These strategies articulate issues that are most germane to the heart and soul of interior design and reinforce the value of the profession. IIDA is committed to increasing effectiveness in protecting and representing a designer's right to practice by promoting excellence in design and ethical design leadership. Collaboration with other shareholders is, thus, absolutely essential. IIDA will continue to be the leader in this call for collaboration among design professionals within firms, amid local communities, among chapters, and at the association level internationally.The final element in IIDA's strategy is support for community. Building connections by imbuing every element of IIDA with a strong culture and sense of community, embracing global diversity, and open communication to our members and the community has been an essential element of IIDA's growth. IIDA supports the use of research and survey materials to create a culture of member feedback to the association. Look for a revamped IIDA Web site, upcoming position papers and renewed association publications as a key element to this development of our community of design. IIDA's mission is to enhance quality of life through excellence in interior design and to advance the profession through knowledge, advocacy and community. Such a scope of service is only possible through a concerted strategic planning objective supported by a committed chapter structure, forward-thinking board of directors and a professional headquarters staff. But the value of IIDA affiliation is only as strong as our network of members; this commitment to excellence in design and professionalism must be reflected by all designers as well. We look forward to working together to advance our strategic goals for the profession.IIDA president Anita Barnett is vice president and corporate practice group leader for Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. IIDA is headquartered in space 13-122
at The Merchandise Mart, Chicago, and can be reached at (888) 799-IIDA or by visiting

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