Using smart thinking to develop your proposal #2

If you write proposals or even manage any project, you’ll be aware of that feeling of never having enough time. This is especially true when you are developing a Horizon 2020 proposal. We see there is a fixed amount of time, so we build a project plan based on the deadline date and work backwards.

We plan for a draft one week before the deadline and allow plenty of time for those finishing touches. But in reality we never have enough time, and the little time we do have is reduced by unforeseen events, like the Internet failing just when you need it.

How to achieve the optimal result

Generally writing proposals consists of three distinct phases, Ideas are gathered (G), then Consolidated (C), and a concept is selected and Implemented (I).

The result optimisation model divides the time available into three equal loops. This forces you to develop your proposal three times. The idea is to improve the outcome after each loop. Approaching the proposal development this way gives a more successful output, but also a more successful feeling of accomplishment. At the end of the development, instead of feeling relieved that you’ve met the deadline, you have a three-fold feeling of achievement.

Result Optimisation model for proposals

Complete each cycle fully

The major risk is that you don’t complete each cycle fully. A draft isn’t a version that has parts missing; a draft is a version that has content in each section. And maybe even could be submitted, but we wouldn’t expect it to get a good evaluation. But however you do it, make sure you complete each loop properly otherwise the model loses its dynamic.

In between cycles you have a reviewing process that leads you to your next stage of gathering ideas, and you start the cycle again. You can use this model for any document or project. You can scale it up and down if you really think about it. The model is applicable for writing a paragraph, a section or a whole document. Or even a blog post ;-).

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