Do you Happen to be a Troglodyte?

Do you Happen to be a Troglodyte?

Do you know any troglodytes?  I’m beginning this blog with that question in order to address a serious point, but also because I love the word, ‘troglodyte’.  I like its construction.  I like the sound of it.  More than anything, I like its power in context.

Context is Everything

As people who know me well are aware, I often use the sentence, ‘Context is everything.’ In the context of this blog, I reckon we need to understand the meaning behind words in the specific context in which they are shared.

In the context of this blog, let me explain how I am using that word ‘troglodyte’.

(There’s that word again.  If no-one’s around as you read this, take a moment to say it out loud a couple of times to just enjoy the sound it makes.  Troglodyte.)

The meaning often attached to the word relates to someone who holds old-fashioned or outmoded beliefs, perhaps someone who’s views are a little bit staid.  Dig back a bit further and the word troglodyte means something like a cave-dweller, or someone who’s a bit primitive.

A Story about a Business Troglodyte

A couple of weeks ago and by inference, I called someone who is outwardly a successful innovator and entrepreneur a ‘troglodyte’.  In other words, I didn’t say, ‘you’re a troglodyte’.

The context for the inference was this.  Regionally, in the UK and specifically in the Leeds area of Yorkshire, this person has a bit of track record as an innovator and entrepreneur.  That can’t (and nor would I) take that away from them.  They have a worthy track record.  They took the opportunity to be critical of me and my work developing the SPICE Ecosystem™.  That’s fine.  I don’t mind criticism or being challenged.  As some readers will know, the SPICE Ecosystem™ is an environment that connects people to performance and development in an integrated mobile first environment that is exactly on trend in terms of global development.  It builds on my forty-year career in people development in a wide range of settings.  So, I hope I can say with confidence that I know what I’m talking about.

The problems I had (and continue to have) are that, firstly they’ve developed a fairly conventional eLearning platform with no evidence its use generates any measurable outcomes whatsoever.  By contrast the SPICE Ecosystem™ integrates collaboration, assessment, the delivery of development, it’s evaluation and the measurement of impact and secondly whilst their product looks nice and has appeal, it so far behind the global trends it might as well be a cave painting!

So, in the exchange this person and I had, from the standpoint of their very attractive product deploying old-style conventions to deliver eLearning, they chose to be critical of the SPICE Ecosystem™.  That’s fine.  I can take a bit of challenge.  However, my response was to describe the approach they’d taken to eLearning as being that of a troglodyte, that of a cave-dweller, someone with outmoded ideas and approaches.

It’s tricky though.  Who would know he was a cave-dweller, with their well-articulated presentation, smart website, successful persona and all the bluff and profile of a successful innovator and entrepreneur?  Who would know it’s a troglodyte driving that Porsche or walking into that smart office, or putting forward some convincing argument?

How do we identify the cave-dweller? 

I was sitting with one or our new customers yesterday.  In this instance, it’s a business delivering marketing supported by training for clients in marketing skills.  They have a great vision for a fresh, innovative approach to blending different approaches to learning with practical skills training in order to build a long-term relationship with clients.  –  They are going to be integrating the SPICE Ecosystem™ as part of their core business offering.  –  Up to the conversation we had yesterday, they thought conventional eLearning was as good as it could get and all that mattered was putting content out there for people to consume, a bit like Mr Troglodyte.  They were being sold outmoded conventions in shiny packaging.

So back to the question, how do we identify the cave-dweller, the troglodyte?

To use a product such as the SPICE Ecosystem™ and the comparison with conventional eLearning as an example, I’d argue that the answer lies in looking beyond conventions, looking beyond the horizons of our current expectations.  Mr Troglodyte, sitting in his smart office in Leeds in the north of England has a nicely decorated cave, with paintings presented in conventional ways.  By contrast the SPICE Ecosystem™ goes beyond conventions, we argue creating advantage for businesses connecting people to ongoing, measurable performance improvement through specific, targeted learning anywhere, beyond Mr Troglodyte’s cave.

Let me ask you something, if I may?

You are running a business and concerned for the development of your people, so why would you not want a resource that delivers easily managed, targeted learning and development that connects people to ongoing performance improvement?

We’d be happy to be in touch about the emergence of learning and development technologies or SPICE Ecosystem™.  Visit for more information or contact us at [email protected]

Written by Michael Croft

August 11, 2023