Investigating Integrated Design

Imagine the possibilities if experts could universally contribute to solutions without limits.

Every day, our teams at Hollis + Miller, alongside our clients and partners, embark on the seemingly overwhelming journey of taking ideas and turning them into a design solution that will serve thousands of students and countless community members for generations to come.

Sandy Cochran’s goal during her four-month sabbatical is to clarify and develop a streamlined approach to integrated design by allowing professionals from all disciplines to add to the conversation.

In today’s process, the traditional design approach starts with an idea. From there, a team is assembled, and a process starts to make that idea a reality. Consultants are assembled along the way to contribute their solutions to specific issues, and eventually, there’s a final product that hopefully some of the team members are happy with.

So, let’s change our thinking.

Where would we end up if the first question is asked a differently?  What does the final product look like if everyone has the opportunity to contribute from the beginning and continuously throughout the entire process?

When you start to blur the lines between disciplines can the team innovate more effectively?  When you start to mix ideas from unlikely sources does it become more authentic or less? Does this create a better solution? What are the failures? How can it shape success?

Sandy plans to explore possibilities that would open up the conversation to find the best solutions, not the usual or the trendy, but what is going to work best for this idea and all the people it affects. She foresees a streamlined approach going beyond inspiring better design, but improving innovation, coordination, budgeting, and scheduling.

Follow her four-month journey as she travels, studies and immerses herself in the subject of Integrated Design.


Sandy Cochran is the fourth recipient of Hollis + Miller’s Innovation Sabbatical Program, a four-month sabbatical that removes a selected team member from their typical workload to research and explore an innovative topic and bring back their findings to the team for the benefit of Hollis + Miller and the communities we serve.

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