Posted by Heather Lee on October 21, 2012
I was a little Minion in Training, one of my favorite playtime activities was
putting together organizations for my sister and myself. Yes, I said
organizations. Businesses, clubs, teams, even mini-armies crossed my notepads
all through elementary school. We’d come up with mottos, marching songs,
ranking systems, identification cards, you name it. As you can imagine, these
endeavors rarely got very far past the building stages. What you might not
imagine is why.
spent hours working on these things because planning them was fun. When one was
finished, we were off to the next. Forming a wispy idea, developing a
framework, and fleshing it out were endlessly entertaining activities. They
eventually shifted into character creation for tabletop games, then seamlessly
into world building for short stories and more.
happy memories floated up today as I was rummaging around in my head for a blog
topic, and what brought them to the fore is how natural the transition from
clubs to worlds really was. For me, organizing is so strongly linked to
creativity they’re pretty much the same thing. This link is evident every day
in my proposal work, too. Why? Because doing this work well requires equal
parts of both.
granted, we are bound by customer expectations and the requirements to which we
respond. Compliance is a top priority and we want to build that into every part
of our proposal, from the CLINs to the past performance. Being creative within
those requirements is tough to do, but it’s also the difference between a good
proposal and a great one. The key is keeping your mind open enough to see the
opportunities among the structure.
example, we have to lay out our sections according to instructions, but the
road maps we give the evaluators are ours to design. We can be inventive
without straying outside the lines, starting with our organization. The next
time you’re staring at the RFP on your desk and wondering how you could
possibly be creative in answering it, consider these points.
Proposal schedule. If you've got good capture, you can devote more
brain time to innovation in your response.
Proposal outline. Though the customer designates the overall order,
you can manage the subsections and paragraphs to best tell your story.
Storyboards. Make sure you've given your writers ideas as well as
instructions in their outline sections; you can aim their thinking in new
A lot of people look at our work and say that we have no room for creativity in
such a rule-bound environment. I say the best part of having an imagination is
finding opportunities to use it.