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Mon 8 Mar 2010 04:00 AM

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Safety in numbers

There's a reason why clichés become clichés. And it's generally because - in spite of their undeniable cheesiness - they express an unavoidable, resounding truth. The much-abused idiom, ‘there's safety in numbers', is a good case in point.

Safety in numbers
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There's a reason why clichés become clichés. And it's generally because - in spite of their undeniable cheesiness - they express an unavoidable, resounding truth. The much-abused idiom, ‘there's safety in numbers', is a good case in point.

The recent unveiling of a brand new president, board of directors and executive committee at the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID) should represent an important milestone for the region's design community at large. It is the next step in the evolution of what is still a relatively young and inexperienced entity.

This ‘changing of the guard' comes at an opportune time. APID's hosting of the IFI General Assembly and World Design Congress at the end of last year gave the organisation an undeniable boost in credibility. In spite of limited resources and a crushingly-inhibitive time frame, APID put on a commendable show - a real testament to what can be done when people work together, use their influence and share their contacts.

The current economic climate will also work in APID's favour. Companies that may not have seen the benefits of being part of a wider group in the past are suddenly appreciating the truth in that age-old adage: there's safety in numbers.

The trials and tribulations of the past year have left the industry vulnerable and scarred. All of a sudden, having a collective voice, a common contract, more accountability, greater regulation, increased segmentation, or even just a forum for good, old-fashioned, honest, upfront discussion, sound pretty enticing. Truth be told, there are a lot of battered design companies out there that will take any security that they can get.

So, the timing is good. Which means that all APID has to focus on is making sure that it is topical and relevant - not just to a select few but to as wide a cross-section of the industry as possible. There are still too many design firms that haven't been brought into the fold; who haven't been convinced of the benefits to their business; or who don't see how they can contribute.

Wooing these firms, whatever their size, attitude or inclination, should be a key priority for APID's new team. Because before you can have safety in numbers, you need numbers.

Selina Denman is the editor of Commercial Interior Design.

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