You’re quite sure you want to come in?… Very well

Jeremy Gould’s very interesting exploration of social media adoption has just reached part 5 – Experiment.

I am very keen on experimentation, my whole vague concept of entrepreneurial government relies on experimentation.

The problem is that my world is deeply averse to anything which might lead to blame or which has any connection to the concept of “risk”. Problematic when you are experimenting!

So some hints on how to get your experiment through the dread CIO challenge, which is like Dragon’s Den only with real dragons, and they have guns, and ADH*bang!*


What, if any, data do you propose to collect or share? Who owns it? Is it personal data either in DPA terms or Hannigan? How valuable is it? If we lost it which page would it appear on in the paper? If your proposed host is offshore then are there any implications? Do you even know where the site will be hosted?


How do you propose buying the service? Is it below single tender level? Is it on a framework? Whose? Why this company? SME? How is the service priced? What does it look like if we have 100 users, 1,000, 1,000,000?  How much is the fish!? How much is the chips!? Does the fish have chips!


Who is the audience for this site? Does the site need to be accessible? (the default answer is always yes) Multilingual? Global? Moderated? Will they expect a reply?


Is it new tech? Have we or someone we know used it before? Is it tech trial or a product trial? Are we locked in if we use it? How much training is needed to use it? To support it?


The most important question of all – “What does success look like?” If you cannot answer that then give up now. I am always depressed at the number of events/projects I attend where people find that question hard to answer.

This list is not exhaustive and nor am I trying to put people off experimenting. We need to try and yes, we need sometimes to fail, if we are to learn. But I am well aware of my own failings around bright shiny baubles to recognise the need for an appropriate degree of rigour.

And now to get back to my own experimenting. Now, where did I leave that account manager?…


3 thoughts on “You’re quite sure you want to come in?… Very well

  1. Good stuff Mark.

    I mentioned a while ago that we’re developing a checklist to help teams here to assess the nature of what they want to do and help us to identify quickly where the information risks might lie.

    We want people to use the funky new tools available, and also to recognise the nature of the information involved and be intelligent about the approach they take.

    We’re starting to roll this out now, and I’d welcome feedback and ideas on the form we’re using:

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