• The Zen of Charrettes: The magic of three feedback loops with space to get it wrong twice

    Published on April 22, 2016
    Reflecting on my decades of managing charrettes, I realized that what I’m really managing is the flow of ideas, information and energy.

  • Forget dot voting, use an ease/impact map

    Published on February 29, 2016
    The NCI will be replacing the dot voting exercise with ease/impact mapping. Taken from our research into the Design Thinking toolbox, ease/impact maps are a way of gaining consensus on priorities rather than creating winners and losers.

  • Collaboration overload?

    Published on January 15, 2016
    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.

  • Lessons from Memphis: How to use a vision wall for a fast meeting start

    Published on August 3, 2015
    In a recent set of meetings in Memphis, TN, NCI engaged people in the creation of a vision wall beginning the minute they walked in the door. This approach got everyone working and on board with the meeting purpose of creating a project vision.

  • Lean Charrettes

    Published on June 18, 2014
    NCI Faculty and Board Member, David Brain, presented a well-received paper on "Lean Charrettes" at the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) in Buffalo, NY this month.

  • Key Learnings from our Michigan Charrette

    Published on May 16, 2014
    Earlier this month, NCI led a seven-day charrette to create a vision for the 21-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue/Grand River Avenue from the Lansing Capitol through East Lansing out to rural Webberville, MI.

  • Charrettes are taking hold in mid-Michigan

    Published on March 26, 2014
    Charrettes are already taking hold as a way of doing planning in mid-Michigan.

  • Charrettes and wedding planning

    Published on October 10, 2012
    A charrette is a lot like a big wedding. It can take a full year or more to plan a wonderfully successful wedding attended by hundreds of people.

  • Public meeting challenge? Send in the working groups.

    Published on July 12, 2012
    There was a much informative discussion this week on the topic of advisory committees, or working groups as they are sometimes called, at the NCI Charrette System™ training at the Michigan State University Extension in Lansing.

  • You never know what will happen at a charrette!

    Published on June 14, 2012
    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.

  • Collaborate? Sure, but how…

    Published on January 18, 2012
    The recent New York Times opinion piece, "The Rise of the New Groupthink," poses a challenge to the rising trend of increased collaboration in business and schools.

  • Why does a charrette have to last multiple days?

    Published on February 7, 2011
    Answer: 1) Three Feedback Loops, 2) the unexpected and 3) feasible design.

  • Tip of the Month: Pre-charrette education

    Published on August 24, 2010
    How can you reduce the learning curve for charrette participants? If you have a complex issue like affordable housing or sustainable street design you may not want to wait until the charrette to start the discussion.

  • The Green/Red Dot Exercise

    Published on June 15, 2010
    A charrette technique to help facilitate a large group agreement quickly.

  • Tip: How to start a charrette

    Published on September 16, 2009
    It may seem basic, but the most important thing to tell a community the first time you meet them is that you haven’t started the design yet.