What is One Future Vision?

One Future Vision is the name given to the change programme first initiated in 2016, now driven by our current president Julian Newman and the IAI chair, Jo Milne-Rowe. 

Its agenda came out of two workshops with GAI and IAI members and some market research among members carried out in 2015, all of which pointed to evidence that we needed to look again at how the GAI and IAI serves the architectural ironmongery sector and the benefits provided to members.

One Future Vision was born from concerns among members and the executive teams of both the GAI and the IAI that, in a fast-changing business environment for architectural ironmongers and the construction industry we serve, we were at risk of having much less influence and impact in the future if we didn’t modernise.

Who is on the One Future Vision group?

The group is made up of representatives from both the GAI and IAI (not just the executive committee), including:

  • Julian Newman
  • David Stacey
  • Angie Corkhill
  • Colin Campbell
  • Mario Del-Signore
  • Jo Milne-Rowe
  • Wayne Harris
  • Paul Johnson
  • Jon Simms

What has the One Future Vision group done so far?

The group has met multiple times and has worked its way through many big questions, including:

  • Should we merge the GAI and IAI to create a new organisation, with a new name and governance structure?
  • Should we fundamentally redefine our role and mission?
  • Should we seek chartered status for members?
  • Should the GAI Diploma become an externally accredited, academic qualification that others could offer too?


Some of these issues are close to completion. Unsurprisingly, some have opened up yet more questions.

But the biggest question of all – are we brave enough to change? – has already been met with a resounding ‘yes’. So while you may not have felt it directly yet, major change is already underway. 

The pace is now stepping up. We are implementing changes which will impact on each and every member of the GAI and the IAI around the world, and ultimately all our customers.

A lot of research has been conducted to inform One Future Vision. Who, and how many people, have you talked to?

The One Future Vision group agreed that we needed to get the views of all our stakeholders through a major piece of research.

That included contacting existing GAI and IAI members in the UK and in 27 other countries around the world. We also set out to get the views of students, prospective members, lapsed members, retired members and even our harshest critics who had left the Guild.

We wanted to find out what people thought about us – our role in the architectural ironmongery industry and in wider construction, and whether our organisations are meeting the needs of members today. 

We commissioned Don Schaaf & Friends Inc (ds&f), a very experienced international strategy and research agency from the US, to conduct this research on our behalf. Ds&f came highly recommended to us following its work on the rebranding of the DHI (the Door and Hardware Institute) and many other associations and membership organisations. 

We chose an agency based outside the UK because we needed to ensure a fully international perspective on the research and rebrand. The greatest membership growth for the GAI and IAI currently comes from outside the UK.

There were 161 video and phone interviews carried out by ds&f.

In the UK, we also held interactive focus group sessions with a wide variety of members and non-members.

Then a comprehensive online survey was sent to the entire membership of 1,562 contacts (not including those who opted out), plus another 31 people who were outside GAI or IAI membership.

481 people took part in that online survey in February, giving us an overall response rate of 29% which, we are told by the researchers, is very good for this sort of survey.

Most of the respondents to the online survey came from:

  • United Kingdom (60%)
  • Middle East (17%)
  • Asia (11%)
  • South Africa (3%)
  • and the rest of Europe (3%)

No one individual or business has dominated at any stage – in fact, among over 600 respondents to our research activities there were 205 different companies represented overall, which was fantastic. This has given us a very good understanding and range of views to work from.

What do the One Future Vision research results say?

From the One Future Vision research process, we got a 49-page ‘Findings/Discovery’ document that compiled and analysed the interviews, plus another 73-page ‘Summary/Strategy’ document from the online research results.

With more than 600 people involved in responding to the One Future Vision research, we have a really strong foundation for moving forward.

The details of the research results are being communicated through IAI branch presentations and other events. But in summary, it was very clear that one of the biggest problems we faced was the level of confusion or misunderstanding about the different roles of the Guild and the Institute. Members, non-members and students supported the idea of merging the GAI and IAI to create a single new organisation, with a new name and governance structure. 

However, it is important to note that this change programme is not just some sort of ‘rebranding exercise’.

It goes well beyond a simple amalgamation of two organisations or the design of a new brand. It’s much bigger than that. Respondents told us they wanted an organisation that was a strong advocate for its members, and a bigger, more dynamic organisation.

So while you may not have felt it directly yet, major change is already underway.

What changes have happened already?

The things that have changed already are mostly internal administrative changes, designed to establish a better infrastructure for the future.

For example, we have already implemented a new CRM system that allows members to book events, renew their membership and update their contact details and preferences online. This also allows us to create more targeted, personalised and timely communications.

We have also launched the new website which also gives us a stronger platform for the future promotion of all members.

What happens next?

Now that we’ve collated and reviewed all of the research results, the next phase of OFV work is focussing on the details of how we bring the two organisations together and the other big changes we want to make.

We have established four working groups that are looking in greater detail at the education programme, membership options, governance and marketing.

Through these groups we are looking at everything we do, including our products, services, programmes, structures, governance and communications, and building on the best parts of the GAI and the IAI to create a dynamic, new organisation that is the voice of the industry.

We are focused on building a completely new organisation that is inclusive for individuals and corporates, and that is more relevant for today and the future.

It’s not a rebrand, but instead a completely new strategy, positioning and energy for the future.

What happened to the suggestion of Chartership?

The One Future Vision group spent a lot of time exploring this issue in depth. A meeting was held with the Professional Associations Research Network, and a consultant was also commissioned to produce a report on the feasibility of chartership.

Unfortunately, it is now clear that our current organisation lacks some of the essential criteria needed for chartership. It’s just not right for us at the moment.

It’s not part of the plans for One Future Vision, but it might be something the new organisation could consider in future. It will certainly remain part of our strategic thinking for the future.

What happened to the suggestion of academic accreditation for the GAI Diploma?

This issue has also been examined in depth by the One Future Vision group, and expert opinion was commissioned to understand the pros and cons of getting the GAI Diploma turned into an externally accredited, academically recognised qualification. We also took advice from City & Guilds about its ‘assured’ scheme as one possible option.

Unfortunately, the indications at the moment are the costs and restrictions imposed by qualification awarding bodies would outweigh the advantages of pursuing this further at this time. But we will continue to keep this situation under review.

What will the new organisation be called?

We have just looked at some early proposals for the new organisation’s name and logo, and we will be making our final decision shortly.

But it won’t be revealed until next year, at the point when we have the other elements also decided – including what it means for our education programme, our technical services, our membership structure and our corporate governance.

In the meantime we have the GAI Education Awards to celebrate in November, and we don’t want anything to detract from that. So we hope you will understand why we’re saying that we will not be commenting on a name until the New Year at the earliest.

How will One Future Vision impact on the education programme?

It’s very clear from the research what we need to keep and build on with the education programme. It’s obviously the jewel in our crown.

We are now looking at is how best we can provide more training and education choices for more roles in the industry and how we can give people more options, particularly at Stage 3.

Last year we reviewed the way we assess Stage 3. This year, we’ve started on a project known as ‘Best in Class’ which we hope to complete by the end of 2020. This is a major review of the education content.

We’re looking for professionals in the industry who are willing to volunteer their time to create or develop relevant educational content. We’ll start with the Certificate modules. So if you have a niche area or specialist subject and can volunteer some time to support our education programme, then we would like to hear from you. 

We will be sending out a questionnaire soon, to find out more about the training needs in all our companies and how the new organisation can really increase the depth and breadth of the education programme beyond our current offer.

How might the corporate governance change in the future?

For the Governance working group, it’s all about balance.

We need strong governance, but we also need to remain nimble. We need to balance the representation of members in the UK and overseas, and the needs of individuals with the needs of businesses.

We are looking at all the best practice models around governance of trade and professional organisations to find a governance model that gives us the right balance of volunteer member input and also gives us a strong strategic advisory group.

We’re particularly interested too in the ways in which the new organisation can really support individuals into the industry and give them development opportunities through volunteering in their membership organisation.

There are no firm decisions as yet, but every week we get a bit closer to that balance.

How will membership work in the future?

Where previously the GAI was set up on a typical ‘one size fits all’ approach to membership, that’s not the way the new organisation will operate.

The Membership Working Group is looking very closely at the different membership models we could offer that would support people in every role, in every part of the industry, and at every different stage in their careers.

You will see a lot of new, much more tailored and relevant membership options in future.

Can members still be involved in One Future Vision even though the research stage is over?

Yes, absolutely. We hope that many will. Just because we have finished the research phase of the One Future Vision programme certainly does not mean we have stopped listening.

There will be presentations about the One Future Vision changes at IAI branch meetings, and we will be asking for feedback which can then be brought back to the working group meetings.

How do I submit a question about the upcoming changes?

We welcome all questions, comments and points of view. Just email us at info@gai.org.uk

Upcoming Event Webinar - Selling and specifying in a pandemic world AM 1 Oct 2020 @ 9:00 - 1 Oct 2020 @ 10:00
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