18th December 2020

2020 – Being curious

As part of our reflection on the unusual year that has been 2020, Technical Director Andrew Ruck stresses the importance of being prepared to listen and learn and looks back with a sense of curiosity;




Eager to know or learn something

Never has there been a more important time to listen and learn than the year 2020.

Given we are in the midst of a global pandemic which none of us has ever experienced before, there is the prospect of an uncertain Brexit and there is the omnipresent climate emergency. There is no doubt we have and continue to be in a period of worrying uncertainty, change and rapid adaptation. Frankly, it’s been pretty nerve wracking. Yet despite all that the year has thrown at us, we appear to have thrived as a Practice. We’re intact and still standing but certainly not complacent.

This prompts some introspection and reflection to try and understand why and how. The firm has had some good fortune by being in the right marketplaces at the right time but I think one tends to make one’s luck.

Fundamentally, I think it has been due to being a tight knit collective all pulling in the same direction with a cohesive glue that binds everyone together. That glue manifests itself in the firms’ 5 core values: one of which is to be curious.

Being curious is a key part in establishing a healthy growth mindset; it results in a hunger for knowledge, discovery and learning, both as individuals and as part of a group.  It allows people to share their vulnerabilities with colleagues and ask for support or help when needed. It also encourages mutual sharing of successes and failures, with gains always being the result if done in the right way. I believe it is this sense of togetherness and a collective curiosity that have helped us navigate 2020.

We have found new ways of working which we’re constantly iterating, learning from and refining. We have welcomed new colleagues, some of whom we have yet to meet in person, but positive relationships have been forged.  We have played our part in engineering a wide variety of building types  and places. All of our work is founded upon a deep-rooted appetite for improving people’s health and wellbeing, ensuring climate resilience and building towns and cities that can thrive.

Looking forward to 2021, the only certainty is further change and the need for constant adaptation. At this time, although the future is interesting to speculate on, it is probably better to stay in the moment and deal with the here and now. We should celebrate the positives that can be found in 2020, and take the time to process and accept the sad and negative things that have occurred. Whatever the world decides to throw at us, our insatiable appetite for knowledge, learning and betterment still seems to be one of the best ways to prepare.

2020 – Being curious