What is the role of experimentation in innovation and how critical is it for an organization?


Darius: What is the role of experimentation in innovation and how critical is it for an organization? Ken: I think it is the lifeblood of actually being able to innovate. I think it's the most important part. And at times the least utilized area. And I've seen that in my experience in the corporate world especially, there's a way in which the corporate world is constantly butting heads. The goal, if you go back to scientific experimentation and scientific method, is to create a hypothesis and then go prove that it's wrong. You're focused on proving things that improving out to something is not true. In order to win, you've eliminated all the possibilities of it not being true that it actually has the possibility of being true. That's a complete anathema to the enterprise world. There is no one whose goals at the beginning of the year when they get their performance plan and their annual operating plan where they come in, says, well, your goals this year are to prove that we're wrong about things and that let's say, you know, enterprises just don't work that way. So introducing experimentation with the idea of saying, let's go prove we're wrong about this and let's say there's a process that I use. I've coined it evidence mapping, which is a way of saying let's separate out the things we know to be true from the things we believe might be true. And then scientific experiments are conducted on the things that might be true in order to prove out whether they are or not or are not with the goal of saying let's prove they're not true. And if we can't, we've got a chance. Working from that kind of standpoint in the idea which goes back to my lean startup days where we'd decide to do experiments, run thru the build, measure, learn loop and use the scientific method and try to use experimentation to help us justify our beliefs and in the business ideas that we have.