We managers are used to working reactively: We run a cycle, this cycle yields performance data, we analyze that data and define corrective actions that make the cycle efficient. And then, we run the cycle again and that cycle yields even more data. Repeat.
That data gives us the sense of control we need to reassure ourselves that we’re dealing with tangible things that we can control.
The problem is that, when it comes to doing something new, or when it comes to a solution that combines elements that we have never combined, we don’t know what to expect. We have no data about the new. All we have are hypotheses.
Of course, these hypotheses aren’t groundless. They come from all our experience interacting with our internal and external clients.
For example: there are hypotheses about what can happen to attract our customers. There are others on how our customers will evaluate our product or service against the alternative. There is also what attributes our solution delivers that will delight our customers, etc.
How do we turn these hypotheses into data? Running experiments.
We can do low resolution tests that allow us to understand and refine a hypothesis at every moment of interaction. And we need to be ready to be wrong. And that requires agility, courage and creativity, to use the resources we have at our disposal to test those hypotheses, refine them, and be ready to learn things that we couldn’t even imagine.