The Charrette Way™ Blog

The Charrette Way™ – The architect’s secret to unlocking the creative flow in you, your company, your community.

When was the last time that you focused on one thing only for a day? What happened when you did? What happens when you focus all your creative energy on just one problem, forgetting about everything else, your other work and responsibilities? And what would happen if you focused on just one thing for four, five, seven days, and what if it wasn’t just you? What if a team of specialists who think out of the box joined you? And what if you invited all the project stakeholders into this creative event? What happens can be amazingly creative and productive.

The Charrette Way™ draws on the secret to creativity that artists and architects have known for centuries, that the most creative way to work is to immerse them selves in a problem for an uninterrupted period often several days. Edison, Wolfe, Wright, Angelou… anyone who has tapped into his or her deep creative capacity has done so through focusing singularly on the task until breakthrough occurs. We have all experienced this…. that college term paper, the pinewood derby car, the bridge building problem in grade school… all these successful creative efforts came from focusing in depth over time.

Rather than chipping away at a problem one meeting at a time over a period of weeks The Charrette Way™ brings specialists and stakeholders together through feedback loops in an uninterrupted period to break through to a co-creative solution. What normally takes months is accomplished in a fraction of the time.

The ultimate reward is to change the way people work together. Relationships change through these intense co-design working sessions. People of different disciplines, viewpoints and positions learn their larger role in a system by working together to solve a problem. Over time, people transition from being specialists to becoming generalists capable of creating innovative solutions to complex problems.

Everything we do at CDI 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 how to efficiently co-create innovative, achievable solutions for any government or business project.

The Charrette Way™ teaches us how to work together by embedding people in a highly rewarding co-design process. 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 data early and often that we will reduce rework.

We want people to come back to us as clients and as stakeholders. Ultimately it comes down to an experience of happiness, fulfillment. They are more likely to come back as clients, as stakeholders, as partners. They are more likely to actively support the implementation. The organization or community learns a new way to work together through a process that they trust and where they feel safe.