June 2011 | Nano Tools | Marketing
Contributor: Yoram (Jerry) Wind, The Lauder Professor, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Encourage innovation, find successful strategies, and create competitive advantages through continuous, adaptive experimentation.
Finding your next successful strategy in an environment of increasing uncertainty and complexity is daunting. The traditional approach involving the implementation of one strategy — unless you have uncanny insights into how it will work — won’t yield the answers you’re looking for. Even if perceived to be successful, what will it reveal about the next step? Adaptive Experimentation (AE) involves the creation and implementation of continuous experiments to improve your strategies over time. By pursuing several approaches, you will be able to better identify strategies for the next level of experimentation, yielding results that improve with each step.
Whether used to develop new products and services, target marketing programs, create better customer experiences, or redefine a brand positioning, the benefits of AE include identifying stimulating breakthrough ideas, creating an innovation culture, and developing strategy. Innovation is encouraged through experimentation. Measuring success or failure is embedded in the process, and because failure yields valuable information, permission to fail is an integral element. AE also creates a compelling competitive advantage: continuous experimentation means your competitors can’t discern your master experimental design.
Adaptive Experimentation is a continuous, rather than a linear, process. The learning that takes place in step 5 informs the refinement and determination of the next objectives in step 1, meaning that outcomes improve over time.
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Wharton Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. Nano Tools Academic Director, Professor Adam Grant.
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