Think big, but start small! - 4 Ways to drive Experimental Culture

In today's fast-paced and ever-changing world, everyone who fails to innovate risks being left behind. But the fast pace also puts pressure on the actual process of innovation. How can you innovate in a way that doesn't consume too much time or money? The answer is through experimentation! 

It’s common to think that big innovations and transformations require huge investments and come with pretty high risks. Often companies are afraid of experimenting on a level that is simple enough, even though it’s possible to drive major success from just a series of small changes that are driven by experimentation. According to Forbes, major companies like Microsoft, Twitter, and Airbnb are examples of players who utilise experimentation on their way to success, and they have invested in experimentation platforms to boost experimentation within their organisations. 

Even though experimentation is proven to be a vital driver of success, many companies are not yet taking full advantage of it. In an article in Harward Business Review Stefan Thomke claims that the reason for this is that experimenting requires a change in the company culture. Of course, you need to have the tools to run the experiments, but what’s most important is to create an environment that nurtures curiosity, and failures are seen as opportunities for learning. 

Why is a culture of experimentation so important?

  1. It encourages innovation and creativity by providing psychological safety. When employees feel safe to experiment and take risks, they are more likely to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to problems. This can lead to breakthroughs.
  2. It fosters a growth mindset. In a culture of experimenting, failures are not seen as the end of the road but as opportunities to learn and grow. This helps employees develop a growth mindset, where they embrace challenges and believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication.
  3. It improves employee engagement and satisfaction. Employees who are encouraged to experiment and take ownership of their work are more likely to feel engaged and satisfied with their jobs. This can lead to higher productivity, lower turnover rates, and a more positive company culture.

How do you foster a culture of experimenting?

  1. Lead by example. Managers and leaders should model the behavior they want to see in their employees. This means being open to new ideas, taking risks, and learning from failures.
  2. Provide resources and support. Employees need the right tools and resources to experiment effectively. LeanLab is an example of a great tool to run fast experiments both among customers and employees. It’s also important to remember that there needs to be training, access to data and analytics, and the freedom to pursue new projects.
  3. Encourage collaboration and feedback. Experimentation often involves working across teams and departments. Encourage collaboration and create opportunities for employees to share feedback and learn from each other.
  4. Celebrate successes and failures. When employees take risks and experiment, it's important to celebrate both successes and failures. This reinforces the idea that experimentation is a valuable part of the company culture and encourages employees to continue taking risks.

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