Learning Objectives

7-1: Define experiments and describe the steps of experimentation.

Experiments are mechanisms for testing the validity of a hypothesis. The starting point of an experiment is the hypothesis—the assumption to be tested—but the formulation of the hypothesis itself begins with asking questions and conducting background research to identify the right questions to be explored further.

7-2: Identify and describe the six steps of scientific experimentation.

The scientific process of experimentation includes the following steps: asking lots of questions; carrying out background research; developing hypotheses; testing the hypotheses by running experiments; analyzing the data; and assessing results.

7-3: Demonstrate how to test hypotheses and identify customers.

It’s critical that when testing hypotheses, entrepreneurs need not actually develop elaborate, extremely robust experiments; the goal is to think like a scientist, not to emulate one perfectly. The type of customer to be targeted must also be carefully weighed. Customers differ in terms of their levels of consumption, rate of adoption, and ability to influence. Furthermore, many factors influential to the perception of a new product or service need not stem from actual customers but could instead come from critics or celebrity endorsements.

7-4: Explore different ways of generating data and describe the rules of experimentation.

When experimenting, entrepreneurs should build on learning, including recently acquired information (positive and negative) into future experiments. Again, a scientific mentality should be adopted, but not to an extreme degree. Data should be well tracked, and many questions should be explored; but cost and experiment duration should be kept to a minimum whenever possible. Finally, all possible stakeholders should be the focus, both in terms of consideration and interaction.

7-5: Identify three types of experiments most commonly used.

The three most commonly employed types of experiments areas follows: trying new experiences; deconstructing products, processes, and ideas to better understand how and why they function; and conducting trials and pilots.

7-6: Illustrate the power of storyboarding as a form of prototyping and a basis for experiments. 

Engaging, simple, and effective in communicating a point or position—storyboards exemplify the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. Inexpensive and easy to make, storyboards are also great tools for eliciting questions from the audience or getting them involved in the creative process.