Four Tips on How to Plan Innovative Experiments

| by Marta Jasinska Follow 0 Followers on Jun 14, 2012. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

A note to our readers: You asked so we have developed a set of features that allow you to reduce the noise: you can get email and web notifications for topics you are interested in. Learn more about our new features.

Last week followers of the Harvard Business Review blog could pick up some tips on how to perform successful innovation experiments from Vijay Govindarajan, professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, co-author of “ Reverse Innovation” and number 3 on the latest Thinkers 50 list of the world’s most influential business thinkers.  

The video was posted as part of Harvard Business Review’s “Management Tip” initiative. In this short presentation Govindarajan talks about the importance of innovation in companies, regardless of their size and profile. He touches upon the role of potential failure as a factor discouraging many managers from supporting innovation. He explains that, based on his experience, “failure is not the real enemy (...) the real enemy is prolonged, expensive failure”. Govindarajan believes that discipline, planning and pragmatic approach can lead to cheap, quickly verifiable experiments that will help companies “spend little to learn a lot”. The tips he proposes form the progressive steps of a process which should lead to successful, that is inexpensive and promptly validated, experiment:

  1. List the unknowns.

  2. Rate the level of uncertainty and importance for each of the unknowns.

  3. List highest ranking unknowns first.

  4. Find inexpensive ways of testing your assumptions, verify them in the ranking order.

Govindarajan keeps his presentation on a very high level, trying to keep it relevant for different companies and teams. It resonated well with both the technical and the business communities. To learn more about Govindarajan’s views on innovation, read one of his more recent blog entries. Co-created with Creative Realities’ Mark Sebell the post gives more insights into the prohibitive factors in team innovativeness. And if you want to know more about his book, listen to Moe Abdou’s interview on the 33voices website.

Rate this Article

Adoption Stage

Hello stranger!

You need to Register an InfoQ account or or login to post comments. But there's so much more behind being registered.

Get the most out of the InfoQ experience.

Tell us what you think

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread
Community comments

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread

Allowed html: a,b,br,blockquote,i,li,pre,u,ul,p

Email me replies to any of my messages in this thread


Login to InfoQ to interact with what matters most to you.

Recover your password...


Follow your favorite topics and editors

Quick overview of most important highlights in the industry and on the site.


More signal, less noise

Build your own feed by choosing topics you want to read about and editors you want to hear from.


Stay up-to-date

Set up your notifications and don't miss out on content that matters to you