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How Rico reduces ‘planning by template’ and improves critical thinking

Planners worry technology will encourage more ‘planning by template’ and lower-quality assessments

Many planners are concerned that technology will negatively impact the quality of their assessments. They worry that software will promote one-size-fits-all solutions and discourage critical thinking, contributing to the problems of 'planning by template' that already exist in the industry.

What is planning by template?

Planners often use previous responses to planning issues or entire reports as templates to address similar issues coming up, and it's not necessary to reinvent the wheel every time. However, every proposal is different and must be assessed against an often complex framework of rules and policies. This requires critical thinking, which involves objective analysis and evaluation of an issue to form a judgement.

The problem isn’t the templates, it’s the lack of critical thinking.

The problem with 'planning by template' isn't the use of templates themselves, but the skipping over of critical thinking and relying instead on superficial similarities to past projects. This results in low-quality assessments that lack technical accuracy and relevance to the specific project.

Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” This quote illustrates the importance of spending time on critical thinking before coming to a conclusion.

In the same way, making better planning assessments is about the preparation that comes before the opinion. Following a disciplined process of preparation sharpens planning assessments so they are comprehensive and more precisely address the specific issues relevant to each project with technical accuracy.

How Rico enhances critical thinking in planning assessments

To date, planners have relied on basic systems such as checklists and report templates to support their planning assessments. However, these systems often prove to be clunky and slow to adapt to the unique requirements of different proposals. As a result, planners end up spending more time customizing these systems than on critical thinking, which ultimately contributes to the problem of 'planning by template' that plagues the industry.

We’ve developed Rico, a new software designed specifically for planning assessments, to rapidly adapt to different proposals, creating a comprehensive assessment process that is precisely tailored to the specific job at hand.

By streamlining the process of understanding proposals from the ground up and clearly mapping out this understanding, this technology greatly reduces the effort and distractions involved in the critical thinking stage of forming a planning opinion.

This approach enables planners to follow a more disciplined and systematic approach, laying the foundation for significantly improved understanding and planning assessments.

Technology doesn’t have to be an impediment to better planning. It can be a tool for precision.

Contrary to initial concerns that technology would reduce the quality of planning assessments, it is now clear that such systems actually strip out time spent on low-value work, reduce errors, and increase the precision of one's professional planning opinion.

This is becoming increasingly clear as technology like Rico develops, assessments produced using such technology permeate the industry, and planners using it feel the difference in clarity and confidence when making assessments.

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