For the last 13 years, I’ve conducted and participated in Applied Creative Thinking panels with the United States Department of Defense and others. The panels were developed through a separate company of mine, RL Leaders, and helped us to bring the future forward for the US Army and other branches of the DOD.
Last month, we announced that we’re bringing these panels to the private sector in the form of Strategic Action Charrettes. Companies with wicked hard problems can turn to us with questions ranging from how healthcare delivery systems will change in the future, to how advances in voice communication technology will shape the way we live and work.
Our Charrettes are exactly what we say they are. First, they are strategic. We design the Charrettes working side-by-side with our partner-clients in order to address their most vexing problems. The end result: a strategy that is targeted towards action. You shouldn’t undertake one unless you are seeking to solve a dilemma or move an issue forward. Lastly charrette, a French architectural term, means multi-dimensional and disciplinary.
The way the Strategic Action Charrettes work is we bring in Creative minds (think Hollywood and other Entertainment professionals), mix them with thought leaders (e.g. astronauts, CEO’s neuroscientists, academicians, successful entrepreneurs) and add subject matter experts (typically from your organization). We then immerse them in an interactive dialogue that’s creative, focused and targeted. The approach is a great way to challenge assumptions, thinking through complex challenges and do so in a way that’s exhilarating and instills creative thinking skills throughout organizations.
For our partner-client perspective there’s another benefit–namely every engagement is fresh. Think of it this way: when you go to a PR firm or an advertising firm you are of course hiring creative talent. As part and parcel the bulk of the abstract thinking falls to the Creative Director and his/her internal team. These are wonderful people but a couple individuals are only capable of so many fresh thoughts. After all, they are also limited by what they know and what they don’t. While we love and use our creative team, the Strategic Action Charrette keeps it all fresh. The Charrettes bring in a diverse range of perspectives. We then take our creative folks to begin the filtering task to augment these ideas and make sure that our partner/clients get the best of both worlds.
This approach to problem solving – breaking down the box, not just stepping out of it – has been a core part of my professional life going back to my days with Les Aspin at the Department of Defense. I’m so proud of this concept and really delighted to offer it to the private sector.
Given the complexity and significance of a Charrette, Capstone offers both scaled down planning Charrettes as part of the Construct process, as well as leads them outside of the Construct process.