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Making experimentation part of product development

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A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) blog post makes the case for experimentation as a key part of the product development process. Authors H. James Wilson and Kevin Desouza cite a December 2010 Babson Executive Education survey of 149 senior executives, in which 51% of respondents say that “experimentation is now their organization’s preferred approach to understanding and acting on potential opportunity.” Among executives at the highest growth firms, the percentage doing experimentation was even higher at 61%, suggesting a possible link between experimentation and “higher revenue performance.”

In the post, Wilson and Desouza discuss the other benefits of experimenting (decision-making informed by data, not just gut feelings) and the increasing ease of experimentation as affordable tools come “out of the R&D labs into the mainstream.” They also describe the three types of experimentation that their research has shown to be the “most accessible” for organizations:

  1. Prototyping

  2. Simulation

  3. A/B Testing

The HBR blog post examines each type of experimentation in more detail and includes links to additional information about experimentation tools and real-life experimentation examples.

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