14 June 2012

You never know what will happen at a charrette!

We had a real charrette moment at our public NCI Charrette System Certificate training in DC last week. At around 2 PM on the first day of the training we were asked to evacuate the building. We left thinking that it was probably a typical fire drill or false alarm. It turned out that a there were noxious fumes funneled into the building from the roof where a contractor was doing repairs. The fumes were so bad that the building was shut down for the day. Our class was not deterred, however. We simply grabbed our course books and headed for the park in front of the Capitol. We were able to continue most of our work of the day there. The charrette lessons from this experience are to prepare for challenges and always have a low-tech or paper back-up plan.

A related crisis happened last year at a large public meeting in Denver. The plan was to use a set of high-tech tools allowing people to use touch table maps and key pad polling. Just as the exercise was about to begin, the power went out. The management was able to get the power back but there was no time to restart the computer system and recalibrate each table. The meeting was saved because the charrette team had a paper back-up plan. They simply rolled out the aerial photos, set up the flip charts, got out the markers and continued the meeting without missing a beat.

NCI trainings teach you hard copy versions of every tool in the NCI Charrette System, giving you the confidence to handle the unexpected that can happen anytime without warning!