Valuing experiments for Design
Very smart article in Business Week about innovation, companies and the value of experimentations/tests. The author's point [Tim Brown who is IDEO's CEO] is that "successful organizations need to experiment with new concepts in order to actively shape the future instead of waiting for it to shape them".
how do you make change predictable? How do you anticipate the impact of disruptive new ideas, new technologies, and new innovations that you or your competition might discover?
Experimentation is well understood in the R&D laboratory, where scientists and engineers test hypotheses and translate their observations into possibilities for the rest of the company. And every executive appreciates the value of controlled tests to evaluate the market potential of a new offering or direction. (...) Experiments let you take your ideas, speculations, and hypotheses, and put them into tangible and testable forms. They enable you to practice the future before you get there. They can inspire both organizations and their customers to head toward an exciting, profitable future that they can influence.
We expect every experiment to produce an output we can communicate or experientially evaluate in some qualitative way. The result might take the form of a tangible prototype or a storyboard or video that lays out a future scenario. Or the experiment might simply provide new insights, such as a novel framework or new principles that can constitute a platform for innovation.
Managers should aim to have a balanced portfolio of experiments: some short-term and intended to create new ideas, some medium-term designed to take your company in new directions, and some long-term that will deliver new insights about the future.
Why do I blog this? I fully agree with this, it reminds me the artifact-oriented forecast Jason Tester do at the IFTF, trying to embed news ideas and concepts into something physical to make the forecast more concrete.