At EdUI 2009 we looked at 5 proven techniques you can take home to your institution and use to get participation and yes, "buy-in," during the web design process:
1. KJ sessions for getting the best ideas from a group of people - and getting them to agree!
2. Nav Bar Survivor - a great trick for solving the "What should be in the top nav?" argument
3. Posterframes - Poster sessions for fleshing out landing pages
4. Mood Boards - Get input from your team on the emotion and tone of your website.
5. Design Consequences game for generating alternative designs quickly
These are all techniques we've learned or developed to help a large group of people from various parts of an institution work together to develop their site architecture in a short period of time. And not fight about it later.
We did the KJ session hands-on during the workshop.