On Trojan Mice

November 27, 2012 Leave a comment

The following post was written by Harold Jarche. An incredible and informative post, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

In Organizations don’t tweet, people do, Euan Semple talks about Trojan mice, an idea he got from Peter Fryer at trojanmice.com. These are small change initiatives, that do not require the coordinated effort of something like a Trojan horse:

trojanmice, on the other hand, are small, well focused changes, which are introduced on an ongoing basis in an inconspicuous way. They are small enough to be understood and owned by all concerned but their effects can be far-reaching. Collectively a few trojanmice will change more than one Trojan horse ever could.

There is an art to spotting a Trojan mouse – you need to develop a critically trained eye. Seeing things differently, and seeing different things, is a powerful experience. And once you do, you can set your trojanmice free to create the results your business needs.

The idea is simple to grasp and perhaps easier than the Probe-Sense-Respond of the Cynefin framework regarding complexity.

Sometimes a better metaphor makes an idea easier to pass on. Here’s my image of how to use Trojan mice. Deploy several at a time, then observe what happens. Cajole and nudge them (as Euan advises) and then add or remove as needed. Many attempts will fail so there’s little use in reinforcing these. Then take another look at the entire field (company or ecosystem), and see where else you might deploy more mice. Repeat.

Send forth your mice!

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