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How do you KISS? We’ll show you

When it comes to management information systems, more features and options often in reality means more complicated and more time-consuming. We want to show you a solution that is deceptively simple and effective.

Leonardo Da Vinci is widely quoted as having said: “simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication”. The modern version, KISS (keep it simple, stupid), was first associated, allegedly, with military aircraft engineering in the 1960s. The point was, if it couldn’t be fixed by someone in the field with a simple set of mechanics tools, it wasn’t good – or sophisticated – enough.

When it comes to management information systems, ironically many people seem to think that more features, more options, and more widgets make something better and more sophisticated.

Too often though, sophisticated actually means more complicated. One dictionary even defines sophisticated as: “made in a complicated way and therefore able to do complicated tasks”.

Management tools designed to make schools more effective have become complicated in this way. They are data heavy, time consuming to use, and require extensive training and support.

Is this really more effective? Most organisations and individuals are time poor. Shouldn’t tools help to make their jobs easier and quicker, rather than giving you yet another task to do, or another set of data to make sense of?

Raising standards and improving results are complex challenges, but doesn’t mean the solutions – or the tools used to find those solutions – need to be complex.

The best solutions are often deceptively obvious and straightforward. Often times they are about focusing on the basics; identifying those things that work and doing them really well; learning from good practice in one area and spreading it across the organisation; empowering people to get on and do their jobs effectively.

The most useful tools, online or offline, help to make these solutions simpler and easier, rather than creating complicated new processes.

This has been our philosophy with iAbacus. Co-founder John Pearce developed the Abacus model in the early 2000s using it, initially, as a paper based process for supporting organisational improvement in schools. Sliding beads left to right on a physical abacus to visually represent progress proved to be a powerful and popular addition and gave the model its name.

In 2011, John began a collaboration with Dan O’Brien of, and created the iAbacus online self-evaluation and improvement tool. The thinking, theory and research behind the original iAbacus Improvement Model had not changed, and each step in the original model has been faithfully retained, with only minor changes of wording to ease navigation. Although tempted by sophisticated possibilities in the software version, we have resisted complexity in a firm belief that the power is in the simplicity of the model.

If you are interested in seeing how iAbacus can help your organisation to be more effective, why not start your 30 day free trial today.


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