There are often situations where the capabilities and skills needed for a demanding project are not readily available locally. To develop ideas for better urban strategies for Qatar, we invited a group of highly talented creative individuals - designers, architects, engineers, anthropologists - to come to Doha to work together for several weeks. Meeting space in Doha is hard to come by, so we rented a hotel suite and converted it into an instant creative studio.
Motivating a group of highly talented creative individuals to work together can be difficult - too much guidance can inhibit the individual expression of valuable ideas, while with too little guidance the group members might just do their "own thing".
Analogous to the Shared Space concept in urban design, this cooperation was set up as a workshop situation without explicit hierarchy. Every participant has to negotiate his "idea space" with others. This leads to constructive knowledge exchanges and a marked increase in both number and quality of ideas and solution proposals. Every participant is motivated to contribute what he is best in while at the same time learning from others.
After several days of immersion into the problems of human habitation and urban spaces in the Middle East, the team came up with a catalog of proposals for better urban spaces in the region and finally compressed their ideas into a blueprint for an energy-independent, autonomous, zero carbon settlement to inspire future urban developments in Qatar.