As part of the Pro Bono Action Tank’s campaign to support and grow pro bono service at professional services firms, we conduct regular conference calls with leading firms. The calls include some of the largest advertising, consulting, accounting, IT, legal and architecture firms in the world.
The most recent call was on program evaluation. An architecture firm, Perkins and Will, shared the practice of POEs or post occupancy evaluations. Ten to 12 months after a building is complete, architects go back and ask those living, playing and working in the space for feedback.
This is so much more meaningful than just getting feedback when you hand over the keys. After 10 – 12 months, you know if there is enough storage space. You have weathered all the seasons. You are able to give feedback beyond the initial romance of first seeing the new space.
After the call I wondered if other professions should adopt POEs. How often does a strategic plan laid out in PowerPoint dazzle, but 12 months later it is still sitting on a shelf? How often is a database built, but it’s never adopted?
Some firms do return to clients to see the legacy of their intervention, but it is too rare. It may be that we want the praise associated with the final presentation, but we are too scared to see the true outcome of our work.