Briefing processes tend to be very much about the internal affairs of the client. When looking for new ideas and inspiration, however, it may actually be best to look outside the organization and visit other projects.The advantage of project visits is that they give clients and users a very tangible impression of the available architectural possibilities. It can help them to widen their frame of reference and it allows them to clarify their preferences (This is great or This would never work for us). For experts, project visits can be useful because they provide an excellent opportunity to look and learn from colleagues and competitors.The obvious choice is to visit projects that are similar to the project at hand. For instance, when building a town hall, it will be interesting to visit other town halls because such projects will have had to deal with similar challenges (e.g. in relation to security or accessibility). It can be just as interesting, however, to visit projects that are very different because these may offer a new perspective on things. For a hospital project, for example, it might prove interesting to look at hotel projects (in relation to hospitality), airports (in relation to logistics) and laboratories (in relation to hygiene).When visiting a reference project, it is important to look beyond the buildings appearance and get a true understanding of how the building works in practice. This can be achieved by talking to the buildings users and facility managers: What do they regard as the buildings good and bad points? What would they have done differently in hindsight? Which mistakes should have been avoided? And what features have proven to be very successful?Furthermore, it will useful to gather factual information about the project visited. Floor plans and cost overviews will help to get a more detailed understanding of the project and can be used as input for benchmarking (see page 101). Formal evaluations of the project will be highly useful as well, giving a factual view of how users experience the buildings usability. All this information can be an enormous help in preparing a design brief, as it allows project teams to learn from both the mistakes and good ideas of others. Recommendations-Look at comparable projects, but also consider projects that are very different.-Make sure to have access to the right people: not just the architects (who are likely to have a bias about their own work), but also the buildings facility manager and users.-Prepare the visit. Formulate specific questions and make a list of the particular spaces or features that should be looked at.-Gather and analyse material about the project: descriptions, floor plans, cost figures, evaluations.-Document the visit in order to communicate the lessons learnt to the rest of the project team/client organization.