Many times companies find themselves wondering if it was possible to avoid unexpected turns, and eventually the downfall of a once-great idea. Where did we go wrong – they ask. Tracking back all the steps, decisions and ideas is sometimes not enough. So we came up with some guidelines for you.
The story often looks like this: no matter what position you have, you’ve come up with an amazing new innovative idea. You ask your team for their opinion. They love it. Your team gathers around the drawing table to make things tangible. You plan a thorough presentation for executives and investors. They love it too. Things are looking great. As time goes by, you see how ideas take shape. The first version of your product looks good. You love it. Your team loves it. Now you can put it in front of consumers. Big launch…
Week 1: Business seems a bit slow. You came up with an explanation – the weather was bad, sellers not ready.
Week 2: We need to promote it more. Can we start the marketing campaign overnight? Sure.
Week 3: We have 4% conversion – but what exactly does it mean?
Week 4: You are a whole month in. After tough meetings, you’re forced to push it, somewhere… someone… something just must be done!
People fall in love with the idea is usually what follows. The end-result is hefty investments and a significant amount of resources in its development. The team’s opinion is not reliable. People build things they like. There’s an assumption if I like it, everyone will like it too. Unfortunately, following hunches without validation usually turns into irrelevant products on the market.
On the other hand team members may lie. Many people want to be liked, so they agree to everything. Sometimes they don’t have enough knowledge and/or experience to make a good decision. Or they don’t feel entitled to make choices.
One thing is sure. Early contact with actual consumers (in many cases) will help you. But this requires some experimentation too. You should try different value propositions, designs, and messaging, to mention a few.
Practical about problem
Companies (of all sizes) repeatedly make choices based on gut feelings and biased thoughts. But regardless of their experience in the field, thinking something will work isn’t enough. The process of experimentation in innovation is supposed to be quick, move iteratively and leverage data-driven and evidence-based decisions. How to do it even better?
Leave the mind bubble
Product experimentation works, in a way, like human behavioural testing. Testing if something works beyond thoughts and ideas translates into putting your product in contact with real end-users.
De-risking business hypotheses
The data and true evidence about your biggest business assumptions are not only about supporting the experiment, but also minimizing the commercial risk of putting into the market products that nobody wants.
You can validate your problem and solution’s market fit without over-investing or risk. You can conduct specific experiments to generate a particular kind of proof.
Working based on proof
Believing isn’t enough. Experimentation in innovation lets you step away from guesses and opinions, and replaces them with facts and customer-driven data.
Measuring the right metrics
Is it possible to measure the wrong KPI? You may be surprised but we often witness, managers following wrong numbers. They follow many metrics, but they don’t really understand them. Or they focus on not important ones, admiring their growth.
Let us remind you about something else. Experimentation in innovation loses value when it’s not an iterative process. Based on inputs and initial consumer results, this process is meant to be a loop and if managed well – scaled with parallel testing.
If you want to minimize unexpected turns and validate your ideas early on, gather more relevant data.