Maybe a better title would be 'How to find out if it can be done, and if so, how, exactly?'. You decide. This isn't about getting through your list of things to do, being more efficient in your doings, but a wider picture. I downloaded a design toolkit a while back, for what sort of design I can't recall now, but possibly planning engagement consultations. That might have all the answers I am planning on posing now. I'll check when I've finished writing this, and report back.
So, imagine an idea for a local project, maybe setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC - pronounced 'kick'). Perhaps for local renewable energy production. Start with a feasibility study, of course. But that probably covers the defined aspects - where does the money come from, where do the benefits go, what about planning, other grants etc. And maybe a management structure. That's the sort of stuff you need, but wouldn't it be good if you could establish early on how likely it is that the system will work, and how?
Design Thinking. I've been a bit presumptuous in thinking that I know what that is, being a designer myself. Plus I do some thinking. The way we, as a species (designers) approach solving problems is just how we do it, almost without thinking, as it were. That process, in its entirety, might be beyond the comprehension of non-designers. I'm wondering if there is some way to distil it down to a simple & adaptable system, without losing the product. The product, in this case, being the proposal, with all details being addressed, albeit as placeholders in some cases.
The detail is the thing, of course. You need all the detail, and you need to know what 'all the detail' comprises. Detail has a hard time of it. Either loved or hated, maybe it's in need of some rebranding. There are many examples of everything working, except for one little detail that doesn't, and it all goes wrong. Or at least not as right as it might have. Someone will have decided it was a minor detail to be sorted out later, but thinking of it as minor is a big mistake.
Coming back to the example of getting things done locally, it takes people with time just to start it off. But at that stage they don't know what it could look like in 6 months, 2 years, whatever. Similar examples won't be fully applicable. What they need is a toolkit, and a project manager. From somewhere else. So the PM + Toolkit would establish a robust & flexible framework that would work right through the project. Comprehensible to all, and useful throughout.
Because if you want something to work well at a local level you need to make sure everyone can understand what its all about and give their thoughts and feelings in the way that suits them, and not get bogged down with detail. By which I mean the wrong sort, at the wrong time, delivered by the wrong person or group. Setting the framework out right at the start, on the basis of what needs to be set up by when, and how that might be done, and how to overcome obstacles, means it could be examined in terms of objectives and how they are achieved. Process and product, in design thinking. It would be a way to abstract local decision-making process to provide a more cohesive product. And maybe sidestep the amorphous impediments to getting stuff done.