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After graduating from the University of Manchester with a degree in Physics and Business Management, I completed the TeachFirst teaching and leadership programme, teaching Science in a secondary schoo...

Craig Leamon, Consultant

Craig Leamon

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Learning to experiment

We’re all familiar with pilots – classic ways to prove solutions as part of traditional projects backed up by detailed business cases. But when it comes to digital transformation, with its inherently dynamic, fluid, fast-changing character, pilots are not always the best approach. You should consider a potentially more dynamic approach: experimentation. This article highlights why and how.

Experiments never fail, because you always learn

Pilots are usually about refining a proposed approach – they generally have an inherent commitment to continue and thus have the presumption of success baked in. So choosing not to progress with a pilot is seen as a failure. Experiments are fundamentally different, and it’s critical you take this truth on board at the outset. Try putting your R&D hat on; experiments are all about learning - why, for example, something does or doesn’t work. So you may well run multiple experiments at the same time, many of which will not be taken any further. They are all successes, because they all enable you to learn.

It is really important for everyone in your organization to be clear that a successful result for an experiment is choosing to stop it once you have done sufficient work to learn why it’s not the right solution for your organisation. If stopping an experiment is viewed as failure then no one will be prepared to work on the really challenging ones, where the greatest potential value can be gained!

Obviously not everything needs experimentation and as an organisation, you might not want to take this approach but experiments can help you get further ultimately with digital.

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