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Sustainability of your digital solution relies on it being replicable and not reliant on just a few people. In order to achieve this, it is critical to assess which parts of your innovation are core (i.e., the same everywhere), which are modular (i.e., you provide different options for certain components of the innovation), and where the solutions can be legally hacked (i.e., users are enabled to make their own changes to the innovation to make it work for their particular needs). This is not only applicable to product innovations, but also process and service innovations.

To begin, deconstruct the components of your innovation using methods such as a process map for services or a specification table for a product. Once you’ve deconstructed the innovation, identify which components are core, which are modular, and which could be enabled to be hackable. This can be done using the Core, Modular, and Hackable Tool.

Once this is done, you’ll need to ensure that all of the components are codified to the right level. Codification levels range from being solely in a single person’s head to being a fully automated process. The table below shows the different levels of codification.1

  • 0 – Inside one person’s head
  • 1 – Inside several individuals’ heads
  • 2 – Can be shown
  • 3 – Can be shown and described verbally
  • 4 – Is written down or drawn in a document
  • 5 – Can be systematically replicated based on documentation
  • 6 – Is partially automated
  • 7 – Is fully automated

Working with your team, use the tables below to identify the component, what its level of codification is now on the 1-7 scale, and where it needs to be using the same scale. Determine the timeframe within which it needs to occur, and identify how any codification will happen.

Upon completion of this exercise, you’ll be able to establish what needs to be done to enable your solution to be sustainable and potentially scale.

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Before you can codify your components, you have to first define them using the Core, Modular, or Hackable tool.

© Ian Gray

  1. Codification levels are adapted from Bessant, J. and Tidd, J. (2013). Managing Innovation: Integrating Technological, Market and Organisational Change. Wiley, London.