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Sustainability of your solution also means that you need to be able to deliver the solution across multiple locations. In order to do this, you need to codify the key components of your solution by creating things like training manuals, standard operating procedures, and process maps. In some cases, you may want to automate some of the processes in or around your solution, such as creating training videos that are housed online rather than conducting face-to-face training sessions.


Codification is the process of documenting and sometimes automating the key components of your solution. This is a significant step in the development process of any solution. It’s not the coding of software, but rather the documenting and/or automating of systems, processes, rules, decisions, and intangible knowledge that are needed to make your solution replicable and implementable by anybody.

At the start of developing a new solution, all the key information about the product or service is often in one person’s head or a few people’s heads, inaccessible and often unknown to anyone else. In order to create a truly sustainable solution, all that knowledge and information needs to be documented, and in some cases automated or built into the solution itself.

Tacit knowledge that rests with a few individuals can remain in organizations far into the product lifecycle, creating critical bottlenecks, restricting growth and replicability, and ultimately creating a huge risk for the solution’s sustainability. It’s also key to ensuring the consistency of your value proposition, so that the user experience is consistent across geographies and time.

Using the same methodology of core, modular, and hackable, it’s vital for the sustainability of the solution to identify where each individual component sits on a scale of 1 (being in one person's head) to 7 (being fully automated). It’s your task to identify what level each component needs to be to ensure the sustainability of your solution.

Case Study: Illustration of Codification

FrontlineSMS built a platform enabling users to mass message with groups of people using a local SIM card. After testing and proving the product, it needed to scale. A support portal was developed providing step-by-step guides enabling users to “do it yourself” while also providing a forum for discussing the problems not solved by the guides. This process took time to develop, and the information was not codified in one go but rather was started by the Frontline team and then built on by the community of users. Not only did the support documentation develop from guides to videos to customer relationship management (zendesk), but so did the product. Over time, the product moved to the cloud and aspects of the setup were automated to be more app-like. FrontlineSMS is not a fully automated system. There is, and likely always will be, a human element to it, but it’s also far from being in one person’s head.

Interactive Tool: Core Component Codification
  • Methodology: Group or individual exercise
  • Time estimate: 30-90 minutes

Use our interactive tool to help identify what level of codification you want to achieve for each component of your solution.

Go to the tool

Key Takeaways

  1. In order to create a truly sustainable solution, key information needs to be documented and, in some cases, automated or built into the solution itself.

  2. Mapping the current codification levels and target codification levels for your solution will increase its sustainability by ensuring that it’s easily replicable and applied.

Complete the following in your Business Model Sustainability Canvas:
  • Highlight what aspect of codification is critical for your business model’s sustainability