The Design Charrette


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The design charrette was adopted from architecture and urban planning for software teams who need to rapidly generate many solutions to a design problem.

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  • Rapid Visioning
  • Thought to originate from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 19th century, the word charrette is from the French for "cart" or "chariot." It was not unusual for student architects to continue working furiously, at the last minute, on the illustrations for their design presentations, even while riding in the school cart (en charrette) through the streets of Paris en route to submit the projects to their professors. Hence, the term morphed into the current design-related usage in conjunction with working right up until a deadline. (from Wikipedia) In the 16th, 17th, and 18th century when travel took long periods, a Charette referred to long carriage rides in which politicians and policy makers would be sequestered together in order to collaborate in solving a set problem over the duration of their journey. This origin is most similar to the current usage of the word in the (USA) design world. (Wikipedia)
  • Charrettes take place in many disciplines, including land use planning, or urban planning. In planning, the charrette has become a technique for consulting with all stakeholders. This type of charrette (sometimes called an inquiry by design) typically involves intense and possibly multi-day meetings, involving municipal officials, developers, and residents. (from Wikipedia)
  • 'Inquiry By Design' is characterized by the notion of asking, examining, investigating, questioning and therefore learning through design. It involves observing behavior, interviewing, analyzing... effective researching to enhance design. Research doesn't have to be scientific, just exloratory. How can we make design better? By learning from what has already been accomplished, by measuring the qualities and analyzing impact. (
  • Sketching is key. Visual communication. Generative. Patterns emerge.
  • The Design Charrette

    1. 1. The Design Charrette Collaborative sketching builds a shared vision. @mblongii @neoinnovate
    2. 2. “Out of silent subtle mystery emerge images. These images coalesce into forms. Within each form is contained the seed and essence of life.” –Lau Tsu @mblongii @neoinnovate
    3. 3. Etymology Charrette is French for “cart” or “chariot.” @mblongii @neoinnovate
    4. 4. Urban Planning In planning, the charrette has become a technique for consulting with all stakeholders. @mblongii @neoinnovate
    5. 5. Inquiry through Design Participants ask, examine, investigate, experiment and therefore learn through the designs they generate. @mblongii @neoinnovate
    6. 6. Visual Communication Each participant sketches. @mblongii @neoinnovate
    7. 7. Collaboration Manifesto • Engage with an open mind • All ideas have value • Check your ego at the door • Enjoy this moment • Think outside of everything you know No filters, let it flow Begin with the end in mind • Leave your preconceptions behind • Listen, then respond • • Acknowledge the contributions of others • @mblongii @neoinnovate