From targets to deadlines

MTZL Diagram
A diagram from the description of the mobile phone elements of the ColaLife Operation Trial by Mobile Transactions

In the last week we’ve moved from talking about targets to using the word DEADLINE as we seek to ‘close the deal’ and complete the co-designed plan for the ColaLife Operational Trial by 12 June. There I’ve said it and in public too!

As with the formation of any proper partnership, time is needed to enable trust to develop between those involved and to give space for a co-design process to take place. This is perhaps especially true when the partnership is as diverse as the one we’ve built in Zambia which involves the public sector (Ministry of Health); an international and national NGO (UNICEF and Keepers Zambia Foundation) and the private sector (SABMiller). During this period of trust development when partners are working out precisely how things might work, it doesn’t help to have a load of deadlines flying around – so we haven’t had any. Until now.

However, there comes a time when you need to bring all this work to its climax and let everyone know the detail of what you are proposing and the support, particularly the funding support, you need. And that time is now.

So we are sat here chivvying and receiving some great material to fill out the detail of our plan. As the person who’s done most of the writing about ColaLife over the last three years it is particularly rewarding to see the trial described in the words of those who are going to help bring the concept to life in Zambia. A highlight of today (1/6/11) was the description I read from Mobile Transactions of the mobile phone elements of the trial.

Another subtle change in the language we are using, is that we’ve resorted to the use of the word ‘trial’ and not ‘pilot’. Pilot was giving the wrong impression. This is going to be a robust, randomised control trial that will produce statistically significant results (either way) – sound operational research.