The Innovators Hypothesis

How to set the scene for successful innovations.

It’s no secret that the market, regardless of the industry that you’re in, is constantly progressing forward and at a fast rate. New items, designs, types of marketing, and so much more are continuously emerging.

So, how do you act in the given situation? Innovation is key. In fact, for many years, people have put in lots of money into both research and development in order to keep up the pace with possible new staff and the current ones.

However, this course of action is tiresome, let along long and pricey. Therefore, instead, let’s go over some tips and tricks to help you innovate faster and with a smaller budget.

You’ll find out:

  • How a little team ended up coming up with the trackball mouse
  • How come innovators hold the business’s main values in their minds
  • How come abandoning your planner way of thinking is the right thing to do

Business innovation is shifting away from costly research and development to inexpensive experimentation.

Real progress is made whenever people are bringing in new and innovative ideas. Do you recall how life was like prior to when the phone had been created? At this point in time, probably not, but it did completely alter how people communicate with one another.

That type of world-altering innovation still happens, but it just happens differently.

In the past, funded research and development, or R&D, departments were the places where innovative ideas and items were made. Today, though, innovation happens by those companies that further develop small, but successful experiments.

That change has occurred due to the fact that the typical R&D model, which requires lots of research backed up by an expert team that created ideas from nothing, was proven to be way too difficult and expensive. That past model did garner the creation of many innovations, but it did require lots of analysis as well as financial help.

Try and think how much time and money it would take to plan the creation of a simple prototype of either a hybrid vehicle or an HD TV.

For every single revolutionary item, there are a whole lot of other ideas that never surface out into the open. R&D teams may spend millions upon millions of dollars conducting market research only to later completely discard the idea as soon as they see all of the negative test results from users.

For those reasonings, innovation now happens from companies that create scalable and less pricey experiments. They’re also easier and require much less time.

Companies are steering away from the expensive analysis from R&D teams and instead, are moving towards smaller-scaled experiments that try out company’s hypothesis or innovative ideas with the help of a form of the scientific method.

Take, for instance, the innovative ideas that are at the roots of either Windows or Mac. You may believe that it was simply one smart idea behind those two ideas, but actually, they were both created from the outcomes of experiments that weren’t too pricey, playing around at each step, as well as imaginative prototypes.

That is the exact form of innovation that we see today; beginning with smaller scaled, inexpensive experiments, and then working your way up in the development process should the results be deemed successful.

In the next section, we’ll dive in deeper into that modern form and figure out how companies are running those experiments.

The 5x5 model method allows businesses to quickly generate inexpensive experiments to test their ideas.

So, what does that modern form of innovation actually entail? Surprisingly, it doesn’t differ much from the method that you would use in chemistry class; this includes splitting up the students into groups, running experiments in order to come up with a solution, and then presenting their findings to their peers.

Essentially, that method can be expressed using the 5x5 model.

That model is put to action when you create cross-functional groups that have five people each. A good example includes a designer, developer, marketer, sales representative, as well as an engineer. Every group is given five days in order to come up with five ideas that could be tested out throughout the span of five weeks. During this whole process, the teams will be competing against each other.

When you use this model, companies are able to decrease the amount of time and money spent in comparison to the previous analysis-propelled R&D model.

For example, suppose you’re a video game business that is looking into creating a new item. Although you had made it simple for players to try out a sample of the game on your site, a lot of them aren’t going through with signing up for the newsletter, therefore, you don’t have a good enough understanding of how many possible buyers you have.

You can deal with this issue by taking advantage of web surveys. That being said, though, it does require lots of time and money along with analysis.

Therefore, you can put forth the 5x5 method, managing quick and inexpensive experiments that you can make bigger should the results be positive.

Begin by breaking apart your staff into teams of five and get them to work on developing five ideas.

For instance, suppose that the best idea ends up being altering the timing of the newsletter request. Since you went with that idea, have the five teams experiment around with it.

One of the potential experiments that you could do would be to ask half of the users to register prior to playing and then the other half to register as soon as they’ve played the game for a couple of minutes.

The outcome could be as follows; those that had to register right away probably didn’t proceed as they were put off while the greater percentage of those in the other half had registered and created a reliable group of possible customers.

Regardless of the outcome, the 5x5 method is a very effective method of handling your issues.

Getting your business experiments up and running requires a certain corporate culture and mentality.

Now that you’ve been acquainted with the 5x5 model, you’d think that everything would go smoothly after. However, I hate to break it to you, but it won’t be. Every single time that you bring in change, you can’t be taken aback by those who’d rather do things the way that they’ve always been.

Therefore, it won’t be any different when you bring in the 5x5 model. Another way of going about innovation will depend on whether or not your company makes a cultural shift.

With the typical models, your business may be more comfortable with the top-down managerial approach in regards to both planning and then delivering those proposals, which needs lots of analytical work. As a result, your head managers may look at those experiments that come from the smaller groups that work from the bottom to the top as a path going in the opposite direction, meaning it won’t yield innovative results.

A lot of those managers will have an unfavorable opinion of experimentation since they will see it as something that has no direction, therefore, they’ll struggle with settling down with the idea of scaling down.

As a result, it’s important to have a different mentality if you want to put forth the 5x5 model and handle experiments to try out business hypotheses.

For instance, making and trying out new ideas isn’t easy when you’ve got people surrounding you that think like a planner. They aren’t going to be searching for new ideas as they place a lot of value on what they’ve learned from previous experiences and therefore, they think that they know the solution to any issue out there.

However, don’t forget that it’s experimentation rather than experience that pushes forward innovation. Therefore, you don’t need to think like a planner, but rather like a searcher.

On the contrary to planners, searchers have to accept the fact that they don’t have all of the answers. They understand that they have to make a few experiments that way they can gain some more data.

If you’re a searcher then that means that you’re also action oriented. They often pay attention to practical ideas that can assist them with turning a decent hypothesis into a prototype that works fast.

Every single one of these characteristics proves how searchers are the best kind of people to assist with the cultivation of the 5x5 method and with the push of innovation into your business.

In the next section, though, we’ll learn why having the wrong headspace isn’t the only obstacle that you can face when trying to innovate.

To avoid resistance, align your business hypothesis with the company’s core values and get everybody involved.

It’s not a surprise that life comes with a lot of resistance. In fact, there are some times when life just seems like it will never give you a break and watches you as you constantly struggle. However, if you persevere, you can push past that resistance and then life will resume to being something that’s a lot easier to manage, thus your productivity levels rise.

That exact type of resistance is what keeps innovation and the 5x5 model from doing its work. Thankfully, though, it is easy to maneuver your way around it.

First things first, you need to bring your plan straight to the executives so that they can see how much of an influence 5x5 experiments can have on the business.

In order to steer clear of resistance, you need to get the executives to your side. You can do so by describing how the business hypothesis is linked to the company’s main values as well as strengths.

Say, for instance, that you will be meeting with the executives of a big telecom business that has user experience as its main value. If you end up outlining a business hypothesis that helps boost a client’s user experience, you have a much greater chance of getting their approval. The same can’t be said, though, for other situations, such as if you had proposed the 5x5 method in order to enhance the business’s discount packages.

However, getting the executives to feel as if they are a part of it is meerley a piece of the answer. As soon as you’ve got everyone feeling as if they play a part, you won’t find any resistance at all.

In order to accomplish that, create a business hypothesis that designates a position for every single department within the business. When outlining the plan, make sure that you detail how it gets everyone involved include sales, marketing, IT, HR, as well as customer service.

Soon, you’ll be aware of the fact that if an idea is great enough, it’ll include the entire company on its own. That fact will assist with the realization of the 5x5 model as a method for trying out the hypothesis and making innovation.

The beauty company, Avon, had that type of giant, innovative idea when it had proposed turning the customers into salespeople. Getting the customers to sell their item was a huge strategic change as it got every department, including HR all the way to Marketing, to work together and bring that hypothesis to life.

Future users of the 5x5 model will be assisted with automated recommendations and hypotheses.

On any weekend, there’s a good chance that you may be feeling so lazy to a point where you’ll just binge an entire series on Netflix. Nine times out of ten, the series that you end up choosing is the one that Netflix chose for you based on the series that you had watched in the past.

The thing is, the future of innovation won’t be any different; binge experimenting will happen based off of your binge hypotheses.

Not that far off into the future, business experiments will be recommended to 5x5 teams with the help of intelligent recommendation engines.

Similar to Netflix, businesses like Amazon and Spotify will assist customers by suggesting items that correlate nicely to their user profile or past shopping, watching, or even listening decisions.

That exact idea can be put forth to business experiments and the hypothesis that put the wheels into motion. However, instead of getting suggestions for either new songs or movies, 5x5 teams will get suggestions for the kind of hypothesis they should try out next.

For instance, the engine may read, “Account managers that had tried out this hypothesis have also tried out…” or, “Marketing designers that had tried out that hypothesis also tried out…”

The best part is that all of this will occur on its own with the help of artificial intelligence, or AI.

That engine won’t only utilize data gathered from human behavior, such as current suggestive systems, but it will also be completely automated by artificial intelligence.

Although that may seem a bit out there, there are people who are currently utilizing this technology.

Sciences are currently applying AI to design experiments which are then published in some of the most well-known scientific journals. Take, for instance, Adam, from the UK. Adam is actually a completely automated robot that creates scientific hypotheses as well as experiments in respect to the genome of baker’s yeast.

That exact technology will one day be used for business experiments. Humans will continue to be the main determinant in those experiments, though. That being said, the teams will need to have AI in order to back them up and assist with creating the next hypothesis that will help in the creation of world-changing innovation.

Final Summary

Business experiments are an inexpensive, fast, and an easy way of creating smarter, nicer, less dangerous, and more scalable innovations that can positively influence businesses as well as the futures of their clients.

Practical advice:

Do not forget to take action.

Joseph Schumpeter, the great economist, once said that, “Innovation is less an act of intellect than an act of will.” You can think about a business hypothesis, but don’t stop simply at the idea of it. Rather, bring it forth and push it forward. Go to the store, purchase whatever you need to create it, and then bring it to life!