May 13th, 2016 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
Comments OffCategories: The Zen of Charrettes
April 22nd, 2016 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
In order to manage the flow of input, ideas and solutions within a community planning process, we find three feedback loops to be the magic number. Three feedback loops allow for a progression from a large set of concepts to a synthesis into a preferred plan. It can take three interactions with a person or group to transform from a position of resistance to a position of listening and then to a position of understanding. Here’s another way to look at it- three feedback loops allow the design team to get it wrong twice before landing on the best idea. Inherent to this process are numerous benefits- by getting it wrong twice, the design team drops their guard. Here openness and listening replace big egos. Participants develop trust in this authentically open design process that seeks the best solution regardless of its source. Shared learning take place during each feedback session among specialists and community members.
How do three feedback loops work into a charrette?
We recommend that complicated, contentious projects are best served by containing the three feedback loops in a minimum of five contiguous days. The main reason is that five or more days allows the space to deal with the unexpected, yet inevitable, bumps in the political road before they spin out. Less contentious or less complicated projects may qualify for a shorter “Lean Charrette.” (More on that approach in the next newsletter.)
The opening night of a charrette is a community workshop focused on information sharing and a vision development exercise. The goal is to develop a shared understanding of the project purpose and process as well as to listen for what is important to the community. The design team then develops a large set of concepts with the involvement of staff and key stakeholders. The first feedback, or pin-up, session happens a day or two later. Here, the design team literally pins an impressive set of concept drawings on the wall. Specialists, project sponsors and community members are engaged in an open conversation about the merits of each proposal. All ideas are reviewed in terms of their strengths and trade-offs are measured against an agreed upon set of metrics. Participants in this pin-up can come away happy, irritated or somewhere in between, which is just fine. The goal is for everyone to be more informed, to appreciate the process and to come back. Unhappy people are often invited to come to the design studio the next day for one-on-one discussions. The design team then moves forward to revise and narrow the concepts down to one or two preferred options.
The second feedback loop occurs a day or two later. A similar process commences, with the goal of picking one or two preferred options. Returning participants now see a changed set of concepts in response to their input. This is the point at which people can become hooked on the charrette process. They appreciate that they are involved in a creative process wherein they can have an impact.
The cycle continues to the third feedback loop a day later. This time a preferred plan is presented in more detail, usually accompanied by technical feasibility studies such as traffic modeling and financial analysis. By the third go-around, repeat participants (who usually number up to 70%) have been embedded in the design process. They have invested their energy, witnessed the design team’s responsive efforts and are now potential project champions. Of course not everyone gets what he or she wants, but everyone should appreciate how they were treated.
It is crucial to match the project process to the type, budget and complexity of the problem. NCI’s Charrette System trainings provide the analytical tools for determining if a project merits a five or more day charrette. Learn more at a the next NCI Certificate Trainings in Asheville…
Next month’s topic: Charrettes as Collective Mindfulness
Comments OffCategories: Benefits of Charrettes · Charrette Organization and Management · Charrette Preparation · Design Thinking · Meeting Facilitation · Public Meetings · Public Participation · Stakeholders · The Zen of Charrettes
April 22nd, 2016 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
- Make sure that the opening charrette public meeting is mostly devoted to community input.
- As soon as they arrive, give people a hands-on task, such as placing dots on photos they like or creating a vision wall with post its.
- Move into small table exercises as soon as possible after a brief meeting introduction.
- Ask table facilitators to be aware of people having a hard time with the meeting, and give space for dissenting viewpoints to be heard.
- Connect with these people, find out who they are, and determine the best route to address their concerns. Options could include visiting them off site, or inviting them to the charrette studio the next day.
- Engage people in the design process, and work to understand their positions. Keep asking “why” until you uncover the implicit need, such as safety, privacy and/or property values.
- Continue drawing ideas to probe for an acceptable solution. It is important to show the trade-offs of each option.
Next month’s topic: The Power of Three Feedback Loop
February 29th, 2016 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
February 29th, 2016 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off
by Hazel Borys, Place Makers
January 15th, 2016 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
We live in the age of collaboration. Everywhere you look, people are realizing that the only way to solve our problems is to work together. However, working together can be a challenge, especially with a large number of disparate stakeholders, acting within their own silos. The latest edition of the Harvard Business Review, titled “Collaboration Overload,” states that the result is too often a series of endless meetings and an unsustainable workload for a small number of key people within an organization. Endless meetings that produce few results can sour people on the process. How can you create a culture of collaboration that is rewarding and manageable for people?
Comments OffCategories: News/Press Releases
December 2nd, 2015 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
Watch this short video in which Bill Lennertz, NCI Executive Director, talks about what happened to a charrette that was not charrette ready. Before you commit to a charrette, you had better be certain that you’ve done your homework…
How To Know If You’re Charrette Ready And What To Do If You’re Not
Live webinar: December 16, 2015, 10am PST/1pm EST
Join Bill Lennertz, NCI Executive Director and Stacie Nicole Smith, Senior Mediator at the Consensus Building Institute, as they discuss how to get the most out of your charrette. Two of the most costly mistakes an organization can make are not being charrette ready and not dedicating the right amount of time to the process: scheduling too many days is a waste of resources, while not planning for enough dedicated time means your team can pull an all-nighter, yet still come up short of a complete solution.
Topics that will be covered in this 90-minute webinar include:
How to determine your organization’s charrette readiness
What to do when you are not charrette ready
Tools for handling tough political divides
How to determine project complexity to schedule the correct number of days for your charrette
This webinar is accredited with the AIA for 1.5 continuing education system (CES) units, with the AICP for 1.5 certification maintenance (CM) credits, and the Congress for the New Urbanism for 1.5 CNU-A continuing education credits.
November 4th, 2015 by Beth Madsen-Bradford · Comments Off
Originally presented on October 21st, in this 30-minute webinar, Bill Lennertz, NCI Executive Director, shows how NCI is combining the accelerated collaborative charrette workshop process with design thinking ideation exercises to tackle “non-physical” design problems. NCI charrettes typically achieve collaboration by design through the use of architectural and urban design drawing. But how do you achieve the power of collaboration when the problem doesn’t lend itself to drawing? How do you get beyond flip-chart brainstorming to more creative exercises? This webinar will show how NCI is engaging stakeholders in strategic planning projects using design thinking exercises that achieve innovative solutions.
- The connection between NCI Charrette System™ and Design Thinking
- How to leverage the power of NCI Charrettes and Design Thinking to solve strategic planning and policy issues
October 5th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off
Check out our latest free webinar presented by NCI Executive Director, Bill Lennerz. Learn about our latest tools, developed and tested on-the-ground for NCI projects in Denver, Norman, OK and Memphis. The way a meeting starts is key to its success. Learn how to positively engage people from the moment they walk in the door to the end of the meeting. Learn how to integrate tech tools and drawing into public meetings. Learn the most effective way to collect input on a proposed plan from a large public meeting.
45-minute webinar recorded 9/22/15
September 10th, 2015 by Aarin Lutzenhiser · Comments Off
In addition to our annual public trainings in Portland, OR and Washington, DC, for the first half of 2015 we have been working on a variety of interesting projects and customized trainings. This ongoing project work means that we bring new, constantly evolving,
real-world experience to everything we do. Coupled with our trainers’ over 25 years of accumulated stories from work in the field, our trainings are both fresh and grounded in a deep history of wisdom and success.
- Forest County Potawatomi Community As part of our ongoing work with the US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program via a grant to the Project for Public Spaces, NCI collaborated with the Local Government Commission on a mini-charrette for the Forest County Potawatomi Community in Crandon, WI to develop recommendations for a sustainable development action plan for this Native American Tribe.
- Memphis Fairgrounds An NCI team including Placematters and Equity Consulting Collaborative facilitated live and web-based forums to gather community input in advance of the Urban Land Institute panel on the Fairground reuse project. It was a first for a ULI panel to be preceded by an NCI community outreach process.
- Saint Mary’s Food Bank NCI is facilitating the application of the NCI Charrette System™ to St. Mary’s Food Bank’s (Phoenix, AZ) strategic action planning process. Operations work teams are crafting action plans using a shared website as well as on-site working meetings. Plans will be merged during a 2-day charrette with management.