Innovation and speed while delivering new products and customer experiences to the market have been high on the agenda of organizations embracing Digital in the market. COVID-19 has only catapulted this agenda to the top of the list. In today’s economic conditions, customers and markets are open to new ways of digital engagement and interactions, with adoption rates seeing a sharp spike since early this year.
40% of all companies won’t survive in the next ten years if they fail to figure out how to change and transform their business to accommodate the latest technologies - East Innovations.
What this means is that now, more than ever, organizations need to rapidly innovate to engage and capture their customers and markets’ digital appetites. The key operating word here being “Rapid”, which means that organizations need to be equipped with the mechanism to run “Rapid Experiments” that would enable quick ideation – validation – pivot – the launch of new products and/or customer experiences.
What is Rapid Experimentation?
“Rapid Experiments”, as the name suggests is a mechanism that equips organizations –
1) Identify the customer or end-user needs or pains to be solved
2) Define hypothesis that can be validated in the market with the target segment
3) Build a testable prototype
4) Execute Market Validation
5) Analyse data and pivot as needed
6) Finalise, develop and release the minimum value needed (MVP – Minimum Valuable/Viable Product) to the market in the shortest possible time
Rapid experiments are tailor-made to suit the needs of the business. Being designed to be fast and iterative, this approach helps save months of long design, engineering, and development costs. The validation & feedback from the end-users and/or customers; allows the business to co-create with its customer segment and pivot based on data. Thereby creating new products and experiences based on data that can then be measured during the actual rollout of the product
Pre-Requisites for a Successful Rapid Experimentation
Gather Data | Before you initiate a Rapid Experiment, you would need to gather all related information about customer segments, customer feedback, business issues, regulatory requirements, market conditions, and other issues that will be relevant to effectively address the agenda. It is essential to gather all the information that could be detrimental to arriving at the solution.
Put together the right team | The team needed to successfully execute a Rapid Experiment depends on the problem statement and hypothesis identified. The team needs to be cross-functional and demand-driven. It should have representation from the design, marketing & sales, product, development, customer support teams, etc. The team is identified by the Initiative lead and/or the key function tasked to define, validate and deliver the new product or customer experience to the market
Plan the execution | Planning is key to a successful Rapid Experiment. What we mean here is defining what success would look like for the Rapid Experiment. Based on all existing data, where would you like to start? What is the problem statement that the team can start with? When do you decide that you have successfully validated an idea and it is now ready to be developed? Last but not least, have a day by day plan for the team
Once all the required preparation is conducted, one can start the Rapid experiment which is a 5-step approach to identifying and co-creating the right product or experience for your customers or end-users. Please note that these steps are not always linear and based on feedback the cycle could go back to the previous step or move ahead
Step 1: Understanding of Business & Customer Problems
Zero in on the target segment and primary persona - Better understand their needs, wants, aspirations, pains, and expectations With this focus, leverage all the existing data that has been collected and drive a deeper understanding of what would work or not for these identified segments and what problem statement for them would be focused on. There are a few techniques that are used here, some of them being How Might We’s, Customer Personas, Empathy Mapping, Personality Sliders, etc. More activities can be conducted depending on the requirements of the problem at hand.
Step 2: Ideate
With an effective understanding of all aspects of the problem, the group moves to fine-tuning the POV (Point of View) and defining the hypothesis along with the success metrics to validate the hypothesis. The team then brainstorms the various business capabilities, experiences, and data needed to effectively build the solution for the target persona. Services are identified through co-creation (with customers/end users if possible), wireframes are drawn for the various ideas. It is important to note that the participants should not be constrained by the current reality, but design for what is desired. This is a key aspect, as many times in our experience, we have seen teams get constrained in their thinking, based on the current reality. Through this step, we use techniques like Value proposition canvas, Crazy 8s, Mash-ups, etc.
Step 3: Prioritize
Once everyone has created their ideas and put them to paper, the groups dive into voting. Voting is done to collectively prioritize the ideas for testing. Therefore, everyone goes through the ideas presented, brainstorms on the pros and cons, keeping in mind what will solve the problem for the target persona in the most effective way. Post the presentation and prioritisation, all participants vote for the most appropriate capabilities/solution and the ones with the highest votes are taken to the next step.
Step 4: Prototype Building
Once the capabilities are decided, it is essential to visualize the presentation of the capabilities/solution to gauge the customer experience, through a click-through prototype. Therefore, the design team first scripts the prototype needed and then builds the same using tools like In Vision or Marvel for the said capabilities (no coding is required for the same) and copywriters start building content to make the prototype screens as real as possible. Meanwhile, the research team starts designing for the FGDs with the customers. This could be driven face to face as is traditionally done, or digital, given the current conditions. The key here is to structure feedback collection and what data will be collected from the customers or end-users about the experience of using the prototype and opinions about the capabilities/solutions being offered and its relevance to them.
Step 5: User Testing
This is the actual FGD where the prototype is presented to the set of users and we gather feedback based on their reactions, opinions, and interest across the various capabilities presented, including areas of improvement. This is the culmination of one round of Rapid Experiment.
The entire cycle could take anywhere between 2-4 weeks based on our experience.
Post the final step, all the insights are collected and the success of the experiment is determined. Based on the measures of success setup, the team could then either decide to tweak some of the capabilities and experiences and test it out again or go ahead to the development stage, once the MVP has been identified, based on the customer or end-user feedback and the Business goals to be achieved.
Want to know our experience with rapid experiments? Do watch out for this space for more info.