Case Study: NBBJ

Ranked the third largest architecture firm in the U.S. by Building Design + Construction, and named one of the top 10 most innovative architecture companies by Fast Company, NBBJ designs spaces that enable the pursuit of success, wellness and joy.

The Challenge

An NBBJ team leader recognized an issue with the company’s charrettes.

Charrettes are forums for designers and architects to show new work to clients—and they are essential to reaching goals. Through the charrette, the designers stayed silent, while hearing comments comprised of 90 percent criticism or suggested changes. After the charrettes, the team leader noticed the designers would redo their entire design, rather than preserving strengths and fixing weaknesses.

The ImprovEdge Solution

Through interactive team retreats and leadership development programs, ImprovEdge taught NBBJ a vital skill for surviving challenges and managing feedback: creating Yes! Space.

In applying Yes! Space, NBBJ related their new improv knowledge to transform creativity-crushing charrettes to constructive moments of clarity. Now, at the beginning of every charrette, NBBJ asked reviewers to hold back on criticism and voice positive opinions about the projects. With the public exchange of support and encouragement, the projects move forward faster, saving hours of designer time, thousands of dollars of wasted ideas, and avoiding many disappointed designers and clients.

How The Solution Can Work For You

Creativity + Practical Application = Innovation.

ImprovEdge provided level-appropriate training across the organization to teach the flexibility and agility of improvisation as applied to the work that NBBJ does so teams and leaders have new tools and techniques to move projects forward. Much like practicing a jump shot, playing staccato or rehearsing lines, applying an ability works much better through dedicated training. To stay in front of challenges, leaders and team members must know how to identify opportunities and create room for progress.