The Secret Sauce

I put the diagram to the right together a couple of nights ago to provide a framework to explain where Frog is heading in the future. It worked quite well, and while I won’t go into  anything about our future work here, I thought I’d put some explanation of this down in case it’s of use to anyone.

This diagram explains the “magic” of a successful implementation. While we deal primarily with Learning Platforms in education, this is a model for any kind of large scale software implementation / culture change project.

With ENGAGE, we have the 3 F’s:

  • FUN – There is absolutely no reason why using software has to be boring and formal. Software companies often forget that their software will be used by real human beings. If it’s fun people will look forward to using it, if it’s boring they’ll try and avoid it. Simple really.
  • FANCY – When people leave work, or school and go home, they are now playing with more sophisticated, interactive web technologies, whether it’s Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or many of the other latest breed of web “applications”. Enterprise systems have to compete. How can we expect our staff and customers to take a piece of enterprise software seriously if it’s rubbish compared to that free thing they chat to their friends on at home?
  • FAMILIAR – Many users of enterprise software will be occassional users, so the system needs to be accessible without a manual. If anyone needs to read anything before they can access and meaningful operate the software, then you’re on to a loser.

These three elements remove the vast majority of initial objections. Your first experiences are fun, impressive and familiar. Nothing to dislike.

REWARD

Once people have had a look at the new system (and been pleasantly surprised) there’s still a need to provide an instant and meaningful payback, otherwise it’s just a novelty item. It doesn’t matter what this is, and it’s different in every organisation, what’s important is that there is at least one in there from the start.

ADAPT

This is where the magic starts. The journeys that our customers travel on are always a surprise to us, constantly coming up with new and exciting ideas, ranging from improved administration processes, to some outstanding examples of student engagement programmes in schools. There are two key requirements here:

  1. That the software is flexible enough to cater to ANY request
  2. You have the appropriate resources to MAKE the software do what is asked for

What we’re looking for here is for the grass roots workers (be it teachers, or any staff throughout the whole organisation) coming up with their own ideas and either implementing them personally, or getting the necessary help to do so. Every single time this happens there is a little more ownership, empowerment and enthusiasm towards the programme. When someone wants to do something new and exciting and they ask “can you make it do this?” the answer has to be yes!

IMMERSE

This is really the end result of a few months of the Adapt stage. It is undeniably hard work getting to this point, in many cases taking 12-18 months, some organisations never commit sufficient executive leadership or resources to get there.

The first signs that you’ve reached the “Immerse” stage is that Frog is the first thing people think of when trying to solve a problem (either physical or virtual), you’ll hear phrases like, “there must be a way of getting Frog to do it?” It’s at this point that the 12-18 month leadership push gives way to more of a “holding on to the tiger’s tail”. The leadership must quickly recognise this and start to try and manage expectations within the organisation. Not everyone can have everything at the same time.

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