Story 04: Where Did the Ideas Come From?

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Developer vs. D&P: Enter the Broker

Written by Janet Kamien

The human relationships could be more complicated. I believe that some of this was by personality, but much of it was by role definition. Though the general feeling was that developers were ostensibly in charge of a project—they carried the "vision"—some had little skill or experience in actually creating exhibits or heading up a team, however small.

While these kinds of issues could usually be dealt with on a case-by-case basis when only one exhibit at a time was being worked on, when we looked forward to building multiple exhibits for the Wharf, it was clear that something a bit more regimented would be needed to complete the work, keep to the budget and not drive ourselves and each other crazy. This is when the notion of "broker" was created.

I guess it was Elaine who thought this up. The idea was that a broker would be assigned to each project to oversee a developer/designer team and report to Elaine as the client. The broker's main job was to make sure that each project went forward and stayed on budget. It was essentially project management, but the choice of the word "broker' also suggested that this person would be adept enough to be a kind of translator between developers and designers who didn't always see eye to eye for various reasons. The essential task was to prototype and try out new exhibits and to improve selected old exhibits for installation in the new building. Dottie Merrill and I were appointed by Elaine to be the "brokers."

Next: The Broker’s Challenge(s)