Word on the street

More often than not, the best ideas come from the past. Such is definitely the case with our newly discovered favorite problem-solving method. Read on to learn more about a unique, fast and collaborative way to help keep your organization moving forward. 

First appearing in the late 1800’s, the term “Charrette” (little cart) appeared in the late 1800’s. Architecture students at the Ecole Des BeauxArts in Paris who needed to rush their designs to their instructors, would transport their drawings on a Charrette. Since then, the term has evolved and been embraced by the architectural and design community and is used to describe any intense, on-the-spot design effort. 

At a recent MSAE Marketing & Sales Symposium, we had the opportunity to participate in the modern version of a Charrette. The facilitator, Jon Horsman CAE, Communications Director of MNLA, took the Charrette concept and expanded its application to encompass any problem, not just a design-centered one. 

The session began with all of us agreeing to do the following: 

1) Contribute fully. 

2) Create boldly. 

3) Move on graciously. 

Then, the real work began. 

Round One: We were divided into three groups and given a list with five real-world problems currently facing the association industry. With limited time on the clock, we selected which problem we wanted to solve and began to brainstorm potential solutions. 

Round Two: Next, each group presented their problem of choice along with some high level solutions. After the presentations, the entire group voted on which challenge we would tackle as a whole. 

Round Three: With one group’s suggested issue and proposed solutions in mind, all groups were given another short burst of time to develop additional solutions. 

Round Four: After our working sessions, each group presented their ideas. The most surprising part about the presentations was that each group focused on solutions pertaining to different parts of the larger issue. One group focused on the legal ramifications of the proposed plan, others thought the funding needed to be flushed out and our group was all about creative marketing and communications. The exercise was successful in producing many actionable items that would put an association on the path toward resolution. 

After witnessing the power of a group working through a challenging, real-world issue in just under an hour; we are believers! Charrettes offer a unique and collaborative way to develop creative solutions for a variety of challenges. This might be just the process your organization needs in order to get moving on those problems that keep you up at night. 

If your Charrette uncovers a brand or design communications challenge, tell us all about it. Our group of strategic problem-solvers stands at the ready to help craft an effective solution. 

Happy Problem Solving!


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