To be misunderstood can be Risky Business

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Have you ever left a public involvement meeting thinking it went well, but knowing that you and your design weren’t really understood by the non-technical stakeholder audience otherwise known as the general public?
No doubt you and your team take intentional steps in the design process to minimize misunderstandings. Many risks are illiminated due to professional licensing qualifications, regulations and experience; however, mandatory requirements in the regulated design process that require you to present your proposed technical design idea(s) to the general public are harder to mitigate. Presenting single images/renderings or animations can work, but they also run the risk of leaving unanswered questions in the mind of the stakeholder.

The creation of those single images/renderings or animations ahead of time and from within your professional environment can lead to the assumption that these are enough to educate, inform and satisfy stakeholders’ concerns. But the risky business element of this assumption is that you, and your presentation, run the risk of being misunderstood, because what they see or more often do not see, opens the door to risky business.

Case in point: When my team presented at a public involvement meeting, we were certain we had won over the audience . . . until someone mentioned a proposed 3-foot-high ornate retaining wall. All they heard was wall, and it didn’t help that our design images didn’t include a visual of the wall. We returned a few weeks later with an image that not only showed the wall, but a crowd-pleasing design in full context, which they unanimously approved.

It’s a breath of fresh air to see technology companies investing in the infrastructure industry and desiring to enhance the visual communication process, as well as the design workflow. With VR immersive and interactive capabilities now an option, it adds a “string to our digital bow” that could well be the difference between on time and on budget, or delays and cost over-runs.

So, does putting a stakeholder in an immersive and interactive environment guarantee success? Absolutely not! But in most cases, it will help you get to yes quicker by uncovering concerns and answering them in real time rather than in overtime.

Gary Rackliff / Natan Elsberg
Real Image Solutions / RDV Systems

About Author

about author

Gary Rackliff

Gary Rackliff brings over 20 years of experience, professionalism and success to Real Image Solutions. Prior to Real Image Solutions, Gary served in the Royal Air Force for 10 years. During those 10 years, he was deployed to multiple overseas locations, including Hong Kong, Falkland Islands and Belize.

Following his service in the RAF, he worked as a civilian engineer for British Aerospace in Saudi Arabia, attached to the Royal Saudi Air Force based in Dharan, close to the Iraqi border. Those three years, included support of Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

On leaving British Aerospace, he moved to the United States and worked in Flight Operations at the Orlando International Airport.

A career change took him into CAD Drafting and 3D Visualization. Gary worked for R. Miller Architecture (RMA) in Orlando for 9 years, where he was tapped to start up R. Miller Visualization (RMV).

When Gary left RMV, he started his own company, Redcoat 3D, which ran successfully until selling it as an asset purchase to IMAGINiT Technologies in 2006, where he remained until June 2009. In September of that year he started VIS, an international design visualization firm based in Rock Hill, S.C.

Having left VIS, Gary returned to Central Florida focusing on all aspects of technical management, pre and post sales, training and implementation throughout Brick RoadFX client base and all of its geographical regions.

In April 2012, he accepted a full-time position with one of BRFX clients, BCC Engineering as Senior Visualization Designer, where he remained until branching out and Starting Real Image Solutions.

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