Refinement is the process of taking raw proposals and adding the details needed to fully implement a proposal.
A properly refined Proposal is like a detailed shopping list for a chocolate cake prepared by a baker for their assistant: the baker would list each pf the required ingredients along with a rough estimate of their cost and a total cost. If the baker has done their job well, their assistant will be able to purchase everything needed. If the baker provides an incomplete shopping list, no one gets cake.
Participants can use three inter-related perspectives to refine proposals.
The first perspective is design thinking, which considers the following factors:
- Desirability: Who wants this proposal? Why do they want it?
- Feasibility: Can this proposal be implemented? For example, while several students may want to start a garden, the proposal is not feasible if there is not enough space on the school grounds for a garden.
- Viability: Can the proposal be implemented within the available budget?
- Sustainability: Once implemented, can the students and/or the school sustain the solution?
The second perspective is financial analysis, which expands on viability and sustainability to develop detailed projected costs. Each aspect of the proposal must be researched to determine the costs.
The third perspective is civic analysis, which expands on desirability and enables proposals to be prioritized. For example, a proposal that benefits the entire student body may be ranked as more desirable that a proposal that benefits a small subset of students unless that group of students s historically underserved.
The final aspect of refinement is developing a draft implementation plan. For example, if a new mural is proposed, who will paint it, how many students are needed to assist, etc.
During refinement most of the ideas will be removed based on the design thinking criteria presented above.
The final work product of this phase is a lit of 5 – 20 proposals that can be be voted upon in the voting phase.