- Slides: 16
Developing Proposals Winning Your Audience
Design Activities Need Recognition* Identify basic needs (purpose, reason for design) Problem definition Define what the problem really is, identify constraints, identify criteria Planning Develop strategy, identify subtasks, establish timetables and milestones Management Guide the process and respond to changing conditions Information gathering Search for and collect information Idea Generation Develop possible ideas for a solution, brainstorm, list different alternatives Modeling Describe how to build an idea, measurements, dimensions, calculations Feasibility analysis Determine workability, does it meet constraints, criteria, etc. Evaluation Compare alternatives, judge options, is one better, cheaper, more accurate Selection/Decision Select one idea or solution among alternatives Communication Communicate the design to others, write down a solution or instructions Implementation Produce or construct a physical device, product or system
Engineering Behaviors - Technical ¡ Analyst l ¡ Problem Solver l ¡ Examines problem setting to understand critical issues, assumptions, limitations, and solution requirements Designer l l l ¡ Searches strategically to identify all conditions, phenomena, and assumptions influencing the situation Searches widely to determine stakeholder needs, existing solutions, and constraints on solutions Formulates clear design goals, solutions specifications (including cost, performance, manufacturability, sustainability, social impact) and constraints that must be satisfied to yield a valuable design solution Thinks independently, cooperatively, and creatively to identify relevant existing ideas and generate original solution ideas Researcher l Formulates research questions that identify relevant hypotheses or other new knowledge sought
Engineering Behaviors – Professional and Interpersonal ¡ Communicator l l ¡ Leader l ¡ l Takes ownership for one’s own personal and professional status and growth Seeks out mentors to support and challenge future growth and development Achiever l l ¡ Facilitates and articulates a shared vision valued by targeted individuals, groups, or organizations Self-Grower l ¡ Prepares a message with the content, organization, format, and quality fitting the audience and purpose Delivers a message with timeliness, credibility, and engagement that achieves desired outcomes efficiently Accepts responsibility and takes ownership in assignments Maintains focus to complete tasks on time amidst multiple demands Practitioner l Brings responsible engineering perspectives to global and societal issues
Proposals as Persuasion ¡ Goal: persuade audiences to act in a particular way: l l l To fund a project (e. g. asking a granting agency such as NSF to fund your research) To approve a project (e. g. asking a manager within your department to approve a process modification) To accept a product (e. g. trying to win a contract for a specific job)
Elements of Persuasion ¡ To persuade someone to decide in your favor, you need to convince them of several things: l l l ¡ That a need exists (research) or that you understand the need (contract) That your proposed project meets that need That your project is viable That the benefits outweigh the costs That you are capable of completing the project Bottom Line: Do the benefits (tangible and intangible) outweigh the costs?
Expectations: Proposal Structures Summary – brief statement of the need, the project, the benefits, and the costs ¡ Statement of Need – an explanation of why the work needs to be done ¡ l l Research proposals: Prior work, background information, gaps, impacts Contract proposals: Review of RFP/RFB
Expectations: Proposal Structure ¡ Statement of Need – an explanation of why the work needs to be done l l ¡ Research proposals: Prior work, background information, gaps, impacts Contract proposals: Review of RFP/RFB Your Proposal l l What can you say about the need? What research is required to support the need?
Structure of Proposals (cont’d) ¡ Project Description l l l Overview (what the project is) Deliverables (concrete outcomes) Justification (how it meets the need) Benefits (why it is valuable/better) Implementation or approach (the plan) Schedule Budget ¡ Qualifications ¡
Expectations: Deliverables ¡ Deliverables should be… l l l Concrete Measurable Multi-stage Final product ¡ Substantial intermediate products leading to deliverable ¡
Knowing Your Audience ¡ To persuade an audience to act, you need to first analyze that audience: l l l l Who makes the final decision? What is the audience’s knowledge base? Why does the audience care? What is their stake in the outcome? What are the criteria (explicit and implicit) for decision-making? What constrains the decision? Is the decision merit-based or competitive? What biases, values, predispositions, etc. does your audience have?
Building Common Ground ¡ To reach your audience, you need to think and write on their terms: l l l Use your audience’s language Explain all unfamiliar terms Read between the lines and address the audience’s values as well as their stated needs or expectations
Knowing Your Tools ¡ Winning proposals rely on three types of appeals: l l l Appeals to Logic … support your claims with the “facts” of the case Appeals to Emotion … support your claims by connecting your work to your audience’s value or beliefs Appeals to Credibility … support your claims by helping the audience believe you
Tips for Developing Content Review all relevant documents from your audience ¡ Research information to support both the need and the project description ¡ Brainstorm all possible benefits and costs, and highlight those most important to your audience ¡
Effective Research/Design Proposals…. ¡ ¡ ¡ Support the need for the project with a review of the relevant literature Provide a concrete set of deliverables in response to the need, including “sure bets” as well as “ideals” Demonstrate a well-thought-out approach to meeting the need Give the reader confidence in the investigators knowledge and ability Clearly account for all spending requests
Making Your Proposal Readable ¡ Use meaningful headings and subheadings to organize your text l l ¡ Use lists to help highlight key information l l l ¡ ¡ Meaningless: Literature Review Meaningful: Curriculum Planning in Engineering Since 1990 Deliverables Critical needs Benefits Use graphics to illustrate key concepts Use tables and charts to illustrate plans l l Schedule Budget