Virtual Charrette

Due to current circumstances hsd recently kickstarted an international project remotely through video conferencing. While the basis of our methodology consists of working closely with clients, on site, through collaborative charrettes that require 2-3 days of ongoing conversation, brainstorming, evaluation and information collection, we quickly pivoted to adapt and translate all these activities into a digital sphere.

With 500 projects over the span of almost 40 years under our belts we have a deep understanding of the objectives, desired outcomes and process that is involved in a charrette and we are well-positioned to translate this process onto a digital platform. By adhering to our principles, maintaining meticulous organization and having a clear workflow dynamic, the major shift comes down to finding the right tools to facilitate the experience. While it is different, it is also a chance to embrace the opportunities this new medium offers.

This charrette was with a new client, meaning we didn’t have a previously established working culture. Nonetheless, we trusted that our general process would facilitate a positive working dynamic for the project and the conversation we were about to have. The responsive component, key to a charrette session, is still present and continues to provide clues for the direction of the conversation and bring to light the most important areas to explore as we interact. At its core, a charrette is not only about exploration of the subject at-hand but also in the need to establish a working dynamic that will seamlessly move the project forward.

By understanding and adhering to tried and true process, the temporary need for changing media has simply been a matter of solving practicalities, vigorous planning and finding the right digital tools to support our client’s needs.

In the end, having to adapt in new ways opens space for new and exciting ways of working and communicating. Certainly, the current situation is imposing change on us in ways which might feel stressful and difficult, however, change is a good ally. Our first virtual charrette was satisfactory and insightful. We achieved the objectives we set up and our client was pleased with the process and outcomes. Most importantly, not only we got to embark on a new project and lead it differently, iterating to respond to the circumstances, but we had a lot of fun.