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Thinking in Experiments: Use If/Then (Maybe) To Try New Things

 
 

Our customers design “experiments” in nearly every meeting we facilitate at Filament: simple, easy, fast, and cheap things that might help their organization learn something, try something, or build something.*

Experiments are smaller than “pilots” and certainly not as large as “projects” or “initiatives.” They’re just big enough to provide a modicum of proof and direction that might help a team decide what to do next.

Here’s how it works:

  • 15 Minutes: After setting a topic for the experiments (teamwork, meetings, technology, customer service, etc.), we ask everyone to spend some time alone with a handful of small experiment cards and capture a handful of “If we try ___________, I think this might happen…” ideas.

  • 45 Minutes: Next, we group teams into “Labs” of 5-7 people where they’ll listen to everyone’s individual ideas, explore common themes and then develop 2-3 experiments to share with the larger group — using the worksheet you see at the top of this post.

  • 30 Minutes: After the experiment sharing, we’ll do a gallery walk of the experiment sheets, and then a small “pricing team” will assign a “price” to each experiment using the Fibonacci sequence** before the group votes on the experiments they’d like to try next.

At the end of the exercise, the group has at least 2-3 experiments they’ll do next several weeks. More importantly, they’ve learned the value of trying new things quickly without getting bogged down in “Project Paralysis.”

* Experiments work so well that we’re building an entire two-day, deep-dive workshop about how to make experimentation a central part of an organization’s way of working.

** We’ll share our Experiment Pricing Methodology in a future post.