Enlightened Experimentation: The New Imperative for Innovation; Stefan Thomke ; Harvard Business Review, Feb. , pp. This article, by a Harvard. Harv Bus Rev. Feb;79(2) Enlightened experimentation. The new imperative for innovation. Thomke S(1). Author information: (1)Harvard Business . Enlightened Experimentation: The New Imperative for Innovation by Stefan Thomke Experimentation lies at the heart of every company’s ability to innovate.

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Don’t forget the basics of experimentation. Parallel experiments are most effective when time matters most, cost is not an overriding factor, and developers expect to learn little that would guide them in planning the next round of experiments.

Consider using small development groups that contain key people designers, test engineers, manufacturing engineers with all the knowledge required to iterate rapidly. In the past, the high cost of experimentation has greatly impacted many firms’ ability to successfully innovate.


Organize For Rapid Experimentation Examine and, if necessary, revamp entrenched routines, organizational boundaries, and incentives to expdrimentation rapid experimentation.

The challenges are managerial as well as technical: But achieving that requires a thorough understanding of the link between experimentation and learning. New technologies such as computer simulations not expermientation make experimentation faster and cheaper, they also enable companies to be more innovative. High-fidelity experiments typically more expensive are best suited later to verify the product.

The Essentials for Enlightened Experimentation – HBS Working Knowledge – Harvard Business School

HBS associate professor Stefan Thomke explains. Interested in improving your business?

Today’s new technology might eventually replace its traditional counterpart, but it could then be challenged by tomorrow’s new technology. Usually, new and traditional technologies are best used in concert. Experiments of lower fidelity generally costing less are best suited in the early exploratory stages of developing a product.

Enlightened experimentation. The new imperative for innovation.

Combine New And Traditional Technologies Do not assume that a new technology experimenation necessarily replace an established one. Remember that new technologies emerge and evolve continually.


The challenges are managerial as well as technical:. Fail Early And Often, But Avoid Experimmentation Embrace failures that occur early in the development process and advance knowledge significantly.

Also, mistakes often occur when you don’t control variables that could diminish your ability to learn from the experiments. Well-designed tests have clear objectives what do you anticipate learning? Determine what experiments can be performed in parallel instead of sequentially.

Enlightened Experimentation: The New Imperative for Innovation.

Learn about fresh research and ideas from Harvard Business School faculty. Acknowledge the trade-off between cost and fidelity.

Hhomke not assume that a new technology will necessarily replace an established one. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. When variability can’t be controlled, allow for multiple, repeated trials.