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4621 N Ravenswood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
United States



NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

Define your success, not your solution


Define your success, not your solution

Matt Young

Occasionally when we kick off a project, a client comes to us with a very clear vision of what they want their final product to be. It may seem counter intuitive, but this is usually the worst thing that you can bring to us. A clear vision of a specific “thing” you want us to make can actually blind you to where you are currently and where you would ideally go.

See, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that you’re going to build a custom course. A little bit of software that is exactly the thing that you always wanted/needed/dreamed of to speak DIRECTLY to your learners about YOUR pain points. So, you have to make sure it’s perfect and addresses EVERYTHING. Especially if it’s your first time because, if you blow this one, you’ll probably never get to do it again.

So, you spend evenings and weekends thinking about it as you send out RFPs and begin to review proposals and you get some pretty clear ideas of what it HAS to be. It HAS to have lots of video and it HAS to have full fully rendered 3-D environments and characters.

Now, you bring it to an e-learning vendor—like NogginLabs—and we say “You know, we don’t think you really need video or fully rendered 3-D environments and characters.”


To which we would ask “Why?”

Now, we don’t ask this question to upset our clients or to make them feel stupid. Quite the opposite. But we have a number of beliefs that we have formed while continuously creating award-winning, custom e-learning solutions. The very first tenet of the NogginLabs’ Blueprint is “Define Your Success.” Seems obvious enough, but when you lead with your desired product and not your desired state of success, you often miss something.

So you have to define what your success looks like.

  • What behaviors would change in your learning audience if the course worked? 
  • How would the training impact your company’s bottom line?
  • How would it impact your customers’ experiences?
  • Your employees’ abilities and productivity?
  • How could it transform—not just your learning environment—but the entire culture of your organization?

If you have trouble answering any of these questions, you may need to take a step even further back. Ask yourself—and answer honestly—what is the current state of these elements? Assess where you are so you can decide where to go.

Once you define your success and come to us with ideas like, “We want to increase sales in our North American markets by empowering our sales force to make customer service decisions for themselves,” then we can really get into it. You may have an idea that you want gamification to be part of your solution, and you may even have ideas about design (even 3-D), but you work with us to develop a solution allows our four pillars to ensure that your solution…well, solves your problem.

Wanting to make a cool, fun, awesome, big, shiny e-learning course for your learners is fine, but don’t lose sight of what success looks like. Recognizing the state of your own success is the first—and perhaps most critical—step to achieving all of your goals.