THE DOUBLE-BLIND PROCESS
Participants are encouraged to read each other’s goals and solicit speculative scenarios, thereby building on these shared visions so the exploration becomes a conversation.
By participating in this kind of speculative exercise, teams of individuals (who may never have previously considered working together,) bring diverse viewpoints and priorities which are seamlessly integrated into an empowering collaborative road map.
Structured Speculation can support the simultaneous participation in a project or planning process from various factions without divulging who else is involved, and with complete confidentiality for each person’s contribution.
This confidential (double-blind) mode of participation allows for negotiation settings and contexts where curiosity about the other party’s perspective might otherwise be an obstacle to progress.
Structured Speculation is also designed to avoid issues related to intellectual property and commercial aspects of innovation. By having upfront agreement on open access licensing and clear individual contributions, it’s possible to simultaneously focus on desired outcomes that are known through mutual accountability.
The first step, defining the goal, requires careful consideration to ensure it is balanced and feasible.
There must be a balance between reason and creativity; feasibility through engineering or logistics considerations; financial cost; and timing, because time is in constant competition with resources, people’s ability to work on various projects at one time (resource constraints), environmental effects, weather variables that affect delivery of goods, etc.
Structured Speculation takes all these factors into account and looks for potential paths forward for each party within the parameters of shared activities and resources, all the while tracking the increasing complexity that comes with execution.
If there are too many possible outcomes or no clear victory path, Structured Speculation aggregates conditions to determine which might be aligned with other projects’ outcomes; this leads to finding possibilities that meet multiple stakeholder’s criteria simultaneously.
These solutions are then strengthened by attracting and engaging a diverse field of experts across multiple disciplines so that they can help determine possible contingencies before they arise – working collaboratively from the first stages inception and steering the discussion through to completion.
Via Ombuds & Advocates
The Structured Speculation oversight model was designed to create structures where necessary for addressing four broad contexts: –
- Complex or contentious projects with diverse stakeholders
- Development of solutions that cannot be anticipated by any single party and which have a long time horizon
- Systems in conflict or within areas of social unrest that are based on power differentials including gender and class inequality, those situations in which the needs of an individual diverge from collective priorities
- Potentially harmful scenarios where information is not released because it would put people at risk
In conventional project management, progress may be stopped at the individual stakeholder level due to personal conflicts, unexpected circumstances or any number of reasons.
Whenever this happens, it’s important to have a mechanism to identify these breakdowns, unblock them and adjust course accordingly.
This is where Structured Speculation’s double-blind oversight model comes into play.
The oversight model creates safeguards for these values in order to maximize collaboration while ensuring integrity in achieving goals.
Structured Speculation prioritizes the protection of human well-being, the environment, and intellectual property by designing stakeholder policies that are aligned with those principals.
A key element to enabling a generalized success is delineating responsibilities and accountabilities. Two necessary components of this system are:
- A clear policy framework or contract that specifies what is fair and equitable for everyone involved
- Someone who ensures everything within the project goes smoothly, stays on schedule and communicates status without having any direct stakeholder authority themselves
Structured Speculation explicitly prescribes two roles as guardians of Structured Solution: One Ombud, and at least one Advocate per project.
These two roles have no authority over their projects or stakeholders within them, but instead ensure their completion by advising on matters related to stakeholder protections, external factors, policy, legal constraints, etc., as needed.
An Ombud only responsibility is ensuring project completion, but has no direct stake in its fulfilment.
The Ombud coordinates the project, tracking progress and finally overseeing the completion of a project. Unlike a corporate manager who is usually accountable for profit generation as well as advancement for stakeholders, the ombudsman is solely focused on delivering an outcome. The ombud checks for completion criteria and guides the stakeholders in resolving any issues that arise
The ombud has no authority to make changes, but only to provide suggested course corrections. The ombud can suggest that the project undergo a review process, and can propose recommending that stakeholders with decision-making power interfere in the normal execution of the project.
The Ombud can get involved when the project isn’t going well and nobody knows what to do. If the ombud feels that a stakeholder is preventing progress, they can suggest re-direction of resources so that schedules are met.
The Ombud reviews the lists of problems, and identifies the most important problem or questions by considering the following:
- Who has an interest in the problem?
- What would happen if this issue were not resolved?
- How might it affect stakeholders/resources involved?
This role has full accountability for meeting its Condition of Satisfaction (CoS) – which in this case is ensuring that all goals have been met without any adverse consequences to anyone within or outside the process.
An Advocate upholds the project guidelines, but does not make decisions for the team. Advocates listen openly to what is being discussed and contribute their ideas without having direct influence over projects. They also provide important suggestions which unblock any difficulties on a collaborative basis without any possibility of power abuse or deadlock situations.
The Advocate’s main responsibility is promoting project completion by proactively eliminating null results like inaccuracies and inconsistencies in compliance with defined conditions.
All Advocates are granted anonymity through anonymized identifiers only, ensuring that advocacy remains objective and pure with no personal stake in outcome.
The Advocate can engage with and interface on behalf of stakeholders in order to use their expertise, knowledge, and information to best address challenges or obstacles blocking the project’s completion.
If any stakeholder is identified as a threat or obstacle (to success), the advocate steps in to take appropriate action that could include advising how an external stakeholder might be influenced or manipulated to resolve the situation.
Advocates are forbidden from taking on an assignment within a project where they have stake in more than one Condition of Satisfaction, which includes: organizational interests, reputation/personal gain if successful, or notoriety for pursuing this condition of satisfaction.
One condition of success is that all Advocates unanimously agree with actions before they can be executed by the Ombud.
Discrepancies between Advocates require discussion which must last no longer than 10 days and resumption of agreement from 100% of Advocates’ participation in order for any action to happen.
All disagreements should remain confidential unless safety or law enforcement requires disclosure during development cycles so personal experience can be shared openly without judgment or penalty.
This type of solution mapping helps people understand where they are now, where they want to be and why getting there involves taking specific actions in order avoid detours into undesired territory.
By including all stakeholders in this process from outset with consideration for their needs at every step along the way, acceptance becomes assured by accumulating trust rather than seeking consensus while one waits indefinitely for others to make up their minds about exactly what will work.
The original Structured Solution authors(s) can outsource responsibility to someone who can objectively address this issue without reservation or bias.
New issues and conditions are ranked against those in the current workflow according to importance.
Two datasets are generated, one for “Speculative Solutions” (including courses of action and estimated cost), and another for “Key Questions” about each proposed solution (assessing risks, benefits etc.).
The Background Study Document generated from this process facilitates feedback through rapid prototyping and additional speculative ideation.
The Oversight roles can be implemented by a specific person or group assigned to each faction who wants to work with you on solving these problems.
Groups can also individually submit ideas anonymously together into the SPECULATE predictive AI model, issues from all factions are synthesized into the Structured Solution automatically as real-world becomes available.
For example, participants could submit solutions using Google Drive docs shared links where they can review collaboratively as needed and give feedback via comments without revealing identities until all inputs are received t hen upload as contributors anonymized information back to the AI system in order to combine them collectively into Structured Solution documents ready for production).
They may also choose share ownership over generated potential solutions with other collaborators before fully agreeing on final version which is uploaded back again for verification process; this allows decisions made during collaboration process to be reconsidered later should it ever be necessary due to change in goals or intended purpose scenario generation post goal achievement until fully satisfied and “closed out”.
This ensures accountability amongst collaborators with an emphasis on safety protocol at every stage. And yet, stakeholders maintain full control over how their assets will be used once the goal has been achieved through Structured Speculation approach.
The Double Blind process guarantees privacy while making project objectives publicly accessible and accountable.