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  • Writer's pictureRachel Robinson

Grow Your Ideas into High-Scoring Solutions

With many things competing for our attention in our daily lives, ideas are often fleeting and difficult to capture. If you don't act on them when they arise, they might fade or be forgotten. By jumpstarting an idea, you capitalize on the spark of creativity and motivation that initially brought the concept to mind.

In the fast-paced realm of Alternative Project Delivery, sketching is the first step to jumpstarting your next big idea. Sketches often drive instant feedback and rapid refinement. A preliminary sketch can quickly move a team to understand core concepts and expedite decision-making among multi-disciplinary stakeholders, including construction, scheduling, environmental, traffic, and other technical specialists.

Skip the long emails... Sketching is the fastest and easiest way to move ideas into constructable solutions during a pursuit.

With back-to-back meetings and busy field schedules, developing polished, final ideas is challenging for many clients. That's why Mission Critical uses a time-efficient 3-step approach for growing ideas into high-scoring solutions:

Step 1 - Write It Down (2 mins): Whenever inspiration strikes, jot it down immediately to avoid losing it. Record the crux of the idea and 2-3 key details. Don't aim for perfection or completion; the goal is to capture the essence.

Practice the '80/20 Rule' or Pareto Principle: This principle states that 80% of results often come from 20% of the effort. Focus on quickly identifying how your concept meets the top three project challenges instead of trying to solve or vet everything at once. Staying focused on prioritized issues can help you make substantial progress and avoid getting stuck on smaller elements or constraints that don't significantly affect your scoring potential.

Step 2 - Sketch It Out (5 mins): Allocate five minutes to sketch the details. This activity engages a different part of your brain, potentially leading to fresh insights, ideas, and solutions. Include critical dimensions if applicable. The goal is to lay out the concept for further examination and development.

Be sure to embrace the iterative process: Instead of trying to make your idea perfect from the start, use your sketch to outline the main features or content, then improve it over time. This is often called the "minimum viable product" (MVP) approach in product development, but it can be applied to many fields. Each iteration of your idea brings you closer to viability while ensuring that you are constantly moving forward.

Step 3 - Ask For Input (2 minutes): Quickly communicating your concept and asking for feedback is the equivalent of giving your idea a chance to grow and adapt. In gaining different viewpoints and perspectives, you will learn more about the problem space and be able to adjust your idea more effectively than if you'd tried to perfect the idea in isolation.

Recognize the value of multi-disciplinary perspectives: Your team will gain a competitive advantage as you develop stronger, more innovative solutions by incorporating multi-disciplinary perspectives. For example, your team's traffic manager may have deeper insights into staging, your construction manager may have experience and success in gaining fast approvals from a critical Agency Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), or your environmental consultant may know the closest local borrow pit to your project site.

By seeking input, you also send a leadership message that other people's thoughts and insights are valued. This inclusive approach can strengthen relationships and foster a culture of collaboration and respect within Joint Ventures or newly formed pursuit teams.

Lastly, while all input is valuable, evaluating the feedback critically is also important. Not all input will be useful or applicable, and ultimately, the development of the concept or idea should align with your vision and the Agency's goals and needs.

Even if it's not perfect or complete, jumpstarting an idea often leads to more significant innovation and success in the long run. Sketching is invaluable for communicating thoughts and ideas quickly and effectively. Asking for input and differing perspectives encourages rapid feedback and knowledge sharing. Combining these skills will help you build your next Big Idea into a viable, high-scoring solution for your next Alternative Project Delivery pursuit.

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We are Mission Critical  

Mission Critical partners with firms new to writing or developing Alternative Project Delivery pursuits and Top 400 firms focusing on their next big infrastructure project.


To discuss your Alternative Project Delivery pursuit goals with Mission Critical, please contact RoAnn Thorne, Principal. 

RoAnn Thorne, STP, ENV SP
(602) 833-8673

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