The virtual garage

The PIE Abacus pilots in January to February, 2019

Gone are the days when inventors were pipe-smoking loners, pottering for years in their sheds.  In the internet age, the archetype of the inventor is the tea-shirted entrepreneur, getting a few buddies together in his ( sic) garage.  Coffee, not tobacco, is the drug of choice. And ambition is to progress to an office with bean bags, apparently.

So it is with the Pizazz. Beginning with a few conversations, from which the principle of a self-assessment process for PIEs grew; progressing through some light-bulb moments, and then many hours of beavering away, not in a shed but in a box room overlooking the Fal estuary in far west Cornwall, the Pizazz now develops into the PIE Abacus, and the locus of activity is a virtual garage, with a constant flurry of emails spanning Cornwall to Cardiff, Cumbria, Glasgow, Newcastle, Nottingham, Norfolk, Orkney, Edinburgh, Dublin and London.


The first wave of PIE Abacus pilots - the 'piloteers' - are currently exploring the ease of use, and then the scope for sharing between teams, of a version of the Pizazz which should be immediately familiar, as it is essentially the same as the pen-and-paper version - the 'short form'.

The advantage of starting with the short form is not just the familiarity and the relative simplicity of this basic PIEs 2.0 model - we are using just the headline or 'top tier' concepts, the 'Big Five'.

It also means that any services which have already started using the pen-and-paper version (280 downloads at the last count) will find that they can immediately* copy over all their existing material on assessment, help and hinder factors, and action plans, to the on-line version.

They can also - and we do largely recommend it, to begin with - get someone (perhaps at 'Head Office', or in the local commissioning team) to upload the data on their behalf, using a 'proxy in-put' function. Their Abacus is still their own, though; and they can take over the in-put and re-editing whenever they are ready to.


Once services are fully familiar with this, we can move on to the next stages - 'adding in' the features or issues that are particular to your own service, or a small group of comparable services (See a description of adding in, HERE).

Finally - though this will take a lot of complex and careful coding - we will be able to introduce the 'drilling down' function, as outlined HERE.

This capacity to customise shows just how the iAbacus approach is so very compatible with PIEs, and the PIEs 2.0 model in particular.

More to follow in subsequent weeks......


  • They do, though, need an access code, which is only available on application to the iAbacus development team.



The simplest, most effective way to evaluate and improve your PIE from Daniel O'Brien on Vimeo.



The archetypal shed.

The silicon valley garage.

But we are working in: the virtual garage