Coordination has good effects in community development

It is difficult to achieve coordination that benefits all parties from architect, projector, property owner and contractor to municipality and government. The habit that each party manages and drives its part is deeply rooted, but the commitment and desire for coordination are huge! Ekan Management's Ann Palmér organized a roundtable discussion on the issue ” Win-win in community development: How do you make all parties feel involved and take responsibility? ”.

We live in a world where we have to do the right thing for our own organization. We have our own goals and our own financial incentives. This makes collaboration between the various parties more difficult as it is more difficult to prioritize an activity or a sub-target that does not directly benefit your organization.

Ekan Management yesterday organized a round table to discuss the possibilities for improved coordination in urban building and community development projects. It was clear that there are high hopes, opportunities and ambitions to achieve increased coordination, but the road to it is not quite straight. There are a number of factors that create a complex arena to coordinate around. For example, the fact that detailed planning is carried out in the entire range from developer-driven plans to municipal planning without the involvement of developers. And so we want it, if yesterday's participants can decide, every project is unique and requires unique solutions in everything from working methods for detailed planning to contract forms.

The cornerstones of coordination

The conversation resulted in three main points that need to be developed and defined in order to succeed with coordination. The three main points will be further worked on in Ekan and the goal is to be able to identify some concrete tools that contribute to sustainable coordination.

1. Common objective
The most important point to succeed in coordination. Unfortunately, it is unusual at present to have a common and stated goal picture, even though most people know that it would benefit the project. The reason is based on a certain form of uncertainty, or even cowardice, about the answer to the question "Why did we start the project?" With our Swedish "I shouldn't stick out or take command" approach, you end up in a situation where nobody wants to risk setting "wrong" goals and instead you set vague, or no goals at all. Of course, all parties involved in a project will always have their own interests, but by agreeing and clearly establishing a common goal image for the project in question, friction can be reduced and the work made more efficient for all involved.

2. Confidence
Perhaps the biggest brake pad today. We do not rely on the other parties' skills, understanding of each other's professions or ability to act towards common goals. We are bad at sharing information and experience, which disadvantages trust. As long as we do everything ourselves, at least we know it will be done right and that we will achieve our own goals. If we agree on where we are going and create an understanding that all parties have different conditions when working towards the target image, at least we would have created trust in each other on that issue.

3. Commitment
A point that is often forgotten but is so important. Far too often, projects rest on one, or a few, fire souls who drive the project forward. Commitment is the driving engine of the projects, what drives them from start to finish. And the entire project organization must be helped to drive forward, towards common goals. We must also be able to pass on the baton during the course of the project, which requires trust and a common goal image.

Concrete tools

The industry needs to unite in a few basic prerequisites and work processes for how coordination takes place in different application areas. During the autumn, Ekan Management will continue to work on the coordination issue and materials will be published with the hope of getting one step closer to concrete working methods and tools that promote coordination for the sustainable urban environments and communities of the future!

When will you be able to see the effects of coordination in community development? It is a difficult question, but one thing is certain: the potential for coordination is great and if ongoing projects would discuss the issue with the same commitment as the participants did during yesterday's roundtable, the effects of coordination will not wait much longer!


At Ekan Management, we work daily and professionally to support and develop organizations in a time of constantly changing conditions. We contribute in business review, process analysis, management models, change management, digitization and portfolio management in real estate, social development and other industries. Welcome to get in touch!

Participants during the roundtable on October 16:

Martin Öbo, Property Director Gothenburg City

Karl Palmberg, Architect SAR / MSA and Chairman of the Board Liljewall Architects

Rudolf Antoni, Regional Manager Västra Götaland, Swedish Enterprise

Gunilla Grahn Hinnfors, responsible Urban Development, West Swedish Chamber of Commerce

Mariette Hilmersson, regional CEO West, Castellum

Lars-Bertil Ekman, Marketing Manager Community Building West, COWI

Torbjörn Grahn, Ekan Management

Ann Palmér, Ekan Management and chair of the Urban Development section of the Community Builders