Challenges, opportunities, and guidance

For the last couple of years a large part of my correspondence has become a specific shape. It’s because I help solve big, weird problems. In doing so, I often gather information into the following:

  • Challenges - this is the “state of the art”, and what everyone in the discussion thinks about it; this often requires clarification so I know what everyone thinks. It helps gets us all on the same side, as well; sometimes I’m organizing the collaboration as much as anything, and I want everyone to work towards the same goal. Stating our collective challenges helps us align as a team.
  • Opportunities - this includes the goals, but also highlights related information that could amplify our goals. It also highlights non-conventional approaches to the challenges presented; for this reason one must look at each individual’s challenge and consider how to solve it from multiple angles, and finding which of those angles work for others as well.
  • Guidance - this is the “next steps” planning, where it combines what we know about the challenges and opportunities, along with the “state of the world”, meaning the environment we are actually working in. This provides pragmatic advise on moving forward with the subject.

:laughing: I know, it acronyms as COG, and honestly I didn’t catch that until late in the ideation of what to refer to the individual steps, so… we’re stuck with COG for now!

I use this framework for replying to tech support questions, helping folks sign up for government services, even volunteering at the gardens: it’s my modus operendi, as a messaging format. :+1:

The reason I’m specifically sharing this now is because I plan to use the format to create a series of policy topics to serve as terms of service documents… and I wanted to explain what I’m doing. :smiley: