Re: Charrette Process LO2194
Sun, 23 Jul 1995 08:43:56 -0400

In LO2146 Myrna Casebolt inquired about the charrette process.

Charrettes are commonly used in design schools. It is an intensive
immersion into the design task for days at a time. It is intended to
produce a high volume of creative results while growing the capability of
the participants to pull together and achieve, under tight timing

I've had the privilege of facilitating a future oriented design charrette
at my organization. I guided one of four such efforts. While I am quite
experienced in facilitation, this was the first experience for any of us
in charrettes.

The process worked well (in terms of results), but was a tough one. The
four facilitators and the sponsor met several times for after-action
reviews and found that there were lots of common experiences.

All of the problems you expect to find in team building happened in the
charrettes, but faster (and sometime more intensely). Even though we
jointly met and mapped out a game plan, there was considerable resistance
to following it. I chose not to "strong arm" the group into following the
plan, but made sure they knew they were consciously deviating.

The facilitators seemed to agree that we were engaged in "loosely
organized, directed chaos." We generally agreed that we would like to do
it again, but not too soon (it was draining).

I describe my group as "process resistent" while another facilitator said
it was like "herding cats".

>From my limited experience with charrettes, I think it has a lot risk,
particularly if you are going to do it with senior managers who may have
very diverse agendas. The one thing that seemed to make it all work was
the majority of participants had a burning desire to MAKE it work. This
was partly fueled by our firm commitment to present results to all the
senior leaders of the company.

Hope this is helpful.

Bill Eureka <>