NCI Charrette System™ Theory

The Charrette Way

Everything we do at NCI comes from the learnings of hundreds of charrettes spanning 30 years of practice. These multiple-day charrettes, conducted in the complex and often contentious world of community planning, provide powerful strategies and techniques for efficiently co-creating innovative, achievable solutions for any government or business project.

The Charrette Way draws on the secret to creativity known by artists and architects for centuries, that the most creative way to work is to become immersed in a problem for an uninterrupted period of time, often several days. Rather than chipping away at a problem one meeting at a time over a period of weeks or months, The Charrette Way brings specialists together for an uninterrupted work session to break through to a creative solution. What typically takes months, is accomplished in a fraction of the time.

Working Together Efficiently

The Charrette Way shows us how to break down single-interest silos and work together efficiently, avoiding the syndrome of endless series of meetings. Charrettes bring together experts and stakeholders to work collectively and single-pointedly to create a design solution. Silos crumble as shared learning occurs and disparate viewpoints collaborate on a design problem.

Conflict as an Opportunity

The Charrette Way views conflict as an opportunity to transform perceptions and positions. Designers recognize that innovative solutions are often fueled by what may appear at first to be confusion, conflict, or chaos. Inclusion and listening are the first steps toward recognizing when conflict actually represents an opportunity.

Transformative Collaboration

The Charrette Way teaches us how to work. It teaches us about time compression, collaboration, and cross-functional design, the advantages of studying the details and the whole. We learn that if we involve the right people and the right data early and often, we will reduce rework, and shared vision and understanding will emerge.