Six tips for successful experimentation in innovation

Experimentation is a great way to reduce risks in innovation. It is impossible to predict how customers will react to new products and services. The best practice is to build and test new ideas with customers and other stakeholders early in the process.

Although it might sound easy, running experiments can be tricky. It requires new kind of culture, ways of working, strategic goals, and partners that can make the experiments happen.

Spinverse strengthened its experimentation offering by acquiring innovation consultancy Industryhack late in 2021. Industryhack was founded in 2015 and has been awarded for its work on Finnish innovation ecosystem.

Since 2015, Industryhack helped dozens of the largest companies in the Nordics to run over 600 experiments both internally and with external companies, leading to more than 100 proofs of concept and 50 new development projects. In addition, the company worked with building new methods for internal experimentation.

After combining forces with the Industryhack team, Aino Heiska, Petri Vilén and Satu Huotari, Spinverse is able to provide even more services that help customers plan and systematically execute experimentation as part of their innovation funnel.

Innovation Consultant Aino Heiska and Creative Director Petri Vilén share some of their tips on how to succeed in experimentation.

1. Clarify what challenge you are really solving
The process starts by defining the problem you are solving or an opportunity you aim to seize. Do not make too many assumptions you are not sure about. You should end up with simple enough a hypothesis that you test with the experiment. Oftentimes, it is good to ask why several times before understanding the real problem we are solving. A good question is already half the solution

2. Decide whether you are experimenting or piloting
This is one of the things where experimentation can go wrong already in the beginning. It is good to understand the difference between piloting and experimenting. Define whether you are validating or learning. When you are piloting, you are validating if a solution works. This is typically done rather late in the process when you already have a functioning solution. In experimentation, your primary goal is to learn and get feedback about your hypothesis. Therefore, you should focus on learning, not the outcomes. Do not worry if it is not too fancy. You will anyway have time to rebuild it later if it works.

3. Involve stakeholders in the process
When you are testing a hypothesis, make sure the people who would be using your service or product are part of the process. This means that you should invite your customer, employees and any other stakeholders in the process to ideate, test and provide feedback about the solution. Be very open and transparent with them. This builds trust and equality among all participants and helps to come up with the best outcomes.

4. Invite external help
In many cases, you might be an expert in the domain but not in the solution. Inviting people with experience from latest technologies or building similar solutions in other industries might bring the missing piece. These could include software developers, designers, business designers or startups who are trying to solve the problem, or people with experience from different industries. Working with you could be a business opportunity for them, so don’t be afraid to involve them in the process. However, remember mutual trust and respect.

5. Build something tangible fast
Test your ideas fast and iterate. Build something tangible from day one. The first feedback should be asked after only 1-2 days. A good rule of thumb is that the maximum time for building a small experiment such as testing a customer journey using mock-ups or slide decks is one week. A proof of concept should be done in 4-8 weeks.

6. It’s actually fun
It is really rewarding when you are working together with customers, partners and colleagues, having insightful conversations towards a common goal, learning new things, building your ideas into concrete things and seeing the results of your work quickly. We have heard many times from our customers that these have been the best working days of their careers.

Would you like to talk to our experts on experimentation in innovations? Do not hesitate to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation!

Read more about Spinverse services  on Innovation experimentation!