Our Approach

At Assai, we keep the following principles at the top of our mind in all that we do:

Mobilise your knowledge

We bring our professional knowledge to every task that we undertake. However, we realise that this is not what makes each project different. The key to project success is the degree to which we also mobilise the deep knowledge you and your people have about your own needs and problems.

Some of that knowledge is hidden: you don’t even know what you know. So we usually begin projects with workshops specially designed to elicit the hidden knowledge of you, your community, and your workers: knowledge that may spell the difference between success and catastrophe. For instance:

  • when we design your workspace, we learn first about your work.
  • we also seek to learn whether the way you work, is working for you.
  • we help you to rethink your work, before you lock things into the design.

Focus on your outcomes

Sometimes professionals lose sight of the client outcomes, and focus just on their own outputs. Architects focus on making buildings, engineers on roads… We realise that clients invest in projects for a reason, and we train ourselves to keep that client outcome in mind at all times, even if it means recommending to reduce or cancel a project altogether, in order to attain the outcome in a better way. For instance:

  • can we reduce the number of schools to be built, by double-shifting?
  • can we get a better community centre by buying an existing building, than building new?
  • is this client’s problem best solved through building at all? Or is there another way?

Lean design

Often, things get incorporated into buildings out of habit. We practice lean design, to ensure that every single item that you are paying for, is something you need.

We see this is the key way to:

  • get rid of waste, that you shouldn’t be paying for.
  • build a sustainable future for us all.

Flexible implementation

“There is more than one way to skin a cat.” There is also more than one way to deliver a project. We know many of them, and we design the delivery mechanism as carefully as we design the works to be built.

  • how do we best mobilise your own community in project delivery, if that’s appropriate?
  • how can we maximise collateral benefits, in the way we go about the project?
  • what will give us flexibility to learn-as-we-go, or to achieve budget constraints in a difficult environment?
  • do we need to work around existing operations?