Net-Zero Nonzero Combo is a gamified charrette framework for Smart City problem solving

Net-Zero Nonzero Combo is a gamified charrette framework for Smart City problem solving

Evolution of Luminaires- Report form The LED Show 2017 Workshop- Download

Our design charrette session at The LED Show at the end of February 2017 was a refreshing change of program format. Professional conferences usually consist only of passive powerpoint presentations with not enough time for audience participation. The design charrette format we chose started by giving everyone lots of background in history, design, and new technology, from a host of fabulous experts, some of the top people in the industry. I then delivered a design brief, had people divide up into teams, and gave them an hour to develop competing proposals for task lighting. Each team prepared a concept pitch, with a hypothetical ask for seed funding to move forward with prototypes. The speaker panel then posed as investors who would provide feedback and vote to fund or pass. 

The results were surprisingly great. Right up to a few minutes before presentations were due, I thought people would struggle and not come up with much. But they suddenly pulled their different acts together, working en charrette (on the cart, P4) and presented some very cool stuff. They were rough concepts of course ( I intentionally limited the available tools to Sharpies, Post-its, and paper), but showed some very original thinking. Given a certain level of understanding, a clear design brief, a limited amount of time, and some competition the creativity that can be unleashed in these sessions by the teams can be surprising. The quality of ideas we generated exceeded my expectations by a long shot, and the best part was the social interaction – plus something that’s at the core of design: the feeling of accomplishing something unique and exciting as a team.


Play Net-zero Nonzero Combo

The purpose of this game is to identify problems, stakeholders, innovations, and technologies that impact cities, to chart their interdependencies, and to collaboratively visualize solutions. 

What’s Net-Zero Nonzero?

Net-Zero refers to the widespread movement to make buildings and cities net-zero, meaning they produce as much water and energy as they consume. Nonzero is a term that comes from game theory and refers to a “nonzero sum game” as opposed to a “zero sum game.” Zero sum games are where there are clear winners and losers, winners typically live and winners typically die. Applied to the environment, an example of a big zero-sum game is burning fossil fuels, as because there’s a limited supply, those with fuel win and those without lose. Nonzero sum games are also called win-win by people like salespeople, who are basically always looking to do business. Humans evolved to be hardwired to play both zero-sum and non-zero sum games, but we find that on balance, there’s a better return on nonzero ones. Cities are basically founded on nonzero sum outcomes- we all seek reasons to “do business.”