The value of running lean experiments is threefold:
First, you learn about the question at hand.
Second, you increase the odds of developing the right idea at the right time.
Third, you create reusable knowledge.
The first two benefits are immediately felt by the innovation team, i.e. they are short-term.
The last point, and most often overlooked, is the long-term value of experimentation.
Chief benefactors of reusable knowledge are all other teams.
That’s why it’s critical to document the learning from every experiment and make it accessible to all.
I’m not talking about a 40-slide deck or 20-page report.
A simple experiment report ought to fit on a single A4 or letter sheet, should be written in plain language, and should include the following:
- Learning goal. Research question, critical assumption or hypothesis.
- Sample description. Brief description of the people you will learn
- Experiment details, cookbook style. Include fail criteria, time boundary, and how did the experiment go in reality.
- Results. Observations and data as well as their interpretation.
- Decision. What action was planned next based on the learning.
In doing so, other teams will be able to build on the accumulated learning, ultimately increasing the speed whilst reducing the cost of innovation.
And how great is that?
P.S. I've written a detailed step-by-step guide to lean experimentation. You can find it here:
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