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The Power of Experimentation

Typically, most new ideas, products, and services exist to solve a problem. The key to innovation, then, is discovering, understanding, and solving a problem. How can you ensure that your employees have the right idea for the right problem? Experimentation is, at its core, made up of four simple steps: define, test, explore, and refine, and will allow you to iterate your way to the right approach for the right problem.

Define your goal: What purpose does your innovation serve? Are you creating a product that will entertain your customers or save them time and make them more efficient at work? Or are you creating an internal workflow process that will save your team time, energy, and money? Whatever problem your innovation seeks to solve, define the results that you desire or expect.

Test your idea: If you’re selling a product or service to customers that you see face-to-face on a regular basis, it’s easy to determine whether or not they like your new, innovative idea or solution. If your problem or solution is more complicated, you may need to take time to define your testing parameters. Consider tracking online clicks, employee satisfaction, or email open rate. Whatever you decide to test, make sure it’s easy to track and clearly defined.

Explore your results: You’ve implemented your ideas, defined your testing parameters, and received the results. Sometimes, these results will seem incredibly clear—approach “A” didn’t solve problem “B.” Take some time to really delve in to the “why” when it comes to these results, and see if there’s anything to be learned from a failure or success.

Refine your approach: Once you understand the results of your experiment, it’s time to try, try again. Each iteration should have the goal of bringing you closer to your ultimate problem-solving solution, so hit the drawing board and come up with more ideas.

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