Jan 2020 Round-up: IKEA testing everything, Dell testing digital experiences, Starbucks has an innovation lab, and a list of major companies hiring for experimentation!

By: Chris Goward
17 min. read Last updated: April 24th, 2020

Welcome back for the first 2020 edition of the Widerfunnel Experimentation News Round-Up! I’ve compiled a list of top news/blog headlines from the last month that talk about experimentation, along with a snippet from each article. Please also take a look at the list of companies that are currently hiring for experimentation roles!

experimentation news round-up articles

Experimentation News: January 2020

How Dell Put Testing at the Core of Its Digital Experiences – CMS Wire – By Dom Nicastro

Vab Dwivedi is laser-focused on the product development roadmap for all of Dell.com’s digital applications. He was part of the team that transformed the A/B testing program from a small operation to a global IT experimentation product team. And it’s not just about testing buttons here and there. “We don’t use WYSIWYG platforms, and we’re not just testing button colors,” Dwivedi, the director of design analytics at Dell, told CMSWire in a video interview at the DX Summit 2019. “We are building out full scale experiences, testing them in multiple regions, and then using that to help drive the larger roadmap for Dell.com. And all of that has shown the value of what experimentation can really do when you’re going through large scale customer-focused transformation.” Read more…


Exclusive: Ikea’s CEO says the company is testing ‘everything you can dream of’ – Fast Company – By Stephanie Mehta

We were always [set] on our concept of big-box [retail locations], and the way you interacted with us was the way we decided it should be. And the result has been market share of approximately 10% in most places. There is an opportunity there, and it is about being accessible: We are investing like never before in digital, so we can have a conversation with you—not only be transactional—how can we provide that home furnishing knowledge through digital interfaces. 

I’ve asked my organization to test everything you can dream of. This is not the moment you’re afraid of breaking some traditional roots of the brand. The danger would be not to test and trial. We’ve learned some things, and we also started to see some emerging concepts that would be born in the future. Read more…


4 of the best charities leading the push for digital transformation – Charity Digital – By Chrissy Chiu

Cancer Research UK’s journey is about digital cultural change: Two years on from the first conversations and implementation of the charity’s digital transformation, leadership and skills have come to the fore. Writing for CRUK’s blog, Ellie Budd, Digital Proposition Manager noticed how the charity’s entire operating model had shifted from demanding services to testing new, innovative digital ideas.

“For us, it’s a little about the technology, but a lot more about the skills teams have. We learnt very quickly those skills needed to be different for every team. Some would need to set up complex A/B tests, some needed to write user stories in BDD format, and some had to optimize their content for search,” said Ms Budd. Read more…


How to maintain business relevance: 5 non-traditional methods – Tech Republic – By Macy Bayern

The competitor landscape for all industries have ebbed and flowed over the past decade, but most companies still use the same practices. Especially with the ever-changing tech market, businesses must evolve to keep up and stay relevant, Globant’s Sentinal report found.

A few ways companies can spark change involves thinking outside of the box. The report found that businesses can do this through experimentation with ideas. Leaders should survey employees for ideas and try some out, the report found.

“The truth is that in this digital age, the customer is not comparing you solely with your competitors, but with previous satisfactory experiences they’ve had, regardless of industry,” Horcada. “When we say ‘think way outside the box’ we mean, think outside your industry, and see how your customer is being shaped by relevant experiences.” Read more…


Digital roadmaps: this visual guidebook maps the triple transformations of business, industries, and careers – YourStory.com – By Madanmohan Rao

This past decade has brought about an unprecedented wave of digital transformation, building on and accelerating earlier waves. David Moschella’s new book, Seeing Digital: A Visual Guide to the Industries, Organisations and Careers of the 2020s is a must-read guide to understand these changes.

Companies will need a mix of Chief Digital Officers, digital champions, digital transformation leaders, and digital marketing leaders. Digital leaders can emerge from the workforce areas if they are adequately recognised, rewarded, and inspired, David urges. The entrepreneurial mindset needs to be encouraged, along with experimentation and willingness to learn from failure. A digital culture can be promoted through storytelling, rewards, peer support, nudges and coaching, the author recommends. Read more…


2020 Marketing Predictions For Retailers And Direct-to-Consumer Brands – Forbes – By Veronika Sonsev

In 2020, retailers and brands will start breaking down their digital silos and digital will become the foundation for all aspects of marketing. Brands are already using digital strategies to measure and engage on traditional channels like TV and radio. The time has come where every marketer has to be digitally savvy so they think through the entire customer experience, including the digital touchpoints.

In addition, marketers must be adept at learning new platforms and strategies for implementation in order to stay relevant amidst quickly evolving consumer habits.The entire marketing team ethos will need to shift from executing known playbooks to hypothesis-driven experimentation. In turn, this affects hiring practices, from recruiting channel-specific experts to marketers who can oscillate between channels, problem solve, create solutions and analyze. Read more…


Starbucks innovation continues — one cup at a time – National Retail Federation – By Fiona Soltes

In the process of roasting coffee, there’s a device called a “tryer.” It allows the roaster to check on the progress of the beans — and, perhaps, to adapt accordingly.

The word — the process — is rich with possibility, as is the recent innovation lab at Starbucks that shares its name. The Tryer Center is a hub for creativity and experimentation. It’s also a physical representation of a culture shift that brings “idea to action in 100 days.” Read more…


Accelerator labs aim to reinvent sustainable development – Sustainability Times – By Vitaliy Soloviy

Development cooperation is evolving fast towards locally aware and place-based initiatives so the United Nations Development Programme has decided to take it one step further by turning developing countries into innovation centers of their own.

The UNDP’s new Accelerator Labs program aims to “reimagine development for the 21st century”, building on grassroots innovation and experimentation at its core. The labs are the UN agency’s response to emerging sustainability challenges and the growing demand for local solutions that come from the bottom-up instead of top-down.

Using experimentation as a key strategy, the labs study local challenges and test solutions, as well as explore the potential for the upscaling of already available local innovations. This allows for backing up initiatives with evidence, building on collective intelligence and avoiding common pitfalls. Read more…


LogicMonitor CEO Kevin McGibben on the trap leaders fall into – TheLadders.com – By Jennifer Fabiano

“At LogicMonitor we have a culture of curiosity, experimentation and openness. Many ideas are experiments, and as with all experiments, they sometimes do fail. I don’t like the word failure, because any idea, whether good or bad, leads to experience. Experience is the foundation for future success. Unless you try something new, you’re not going to learn. In any business, in order to innovate and break away from the status quo, you have to try new things. Creating a culture of ‘test, prove, then resource means that LogicMonitor provides employees with every opportunity to look at innovative ways to solve new problems. I’ve learned to avoid the trap of a ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality. A test-and-learn approach is especially relevant at LogicMonitor because we are a data-driven business and use data to make decisions. This means that if an idea isn’t going as planned, we’re able to detect issues early and change our approach in order to avoid an even more widespread issue.” Read more…


When Digital Transformation Stalls, Here’s What You Can Do About It – Forbes.com – By Thor Ernstsson 

All too often, new projects or strategies go nowhere because leaders are unable to communicate the broad vision or value of innovation.

That’s where experimentation comes in.

The idea that experimentation is risky for a business is a common misconception. In fact, starting small with pilots or low-cost experiments is an efficient way to demonstrate ROI early, reduce negative outcomes and avoid operational quagmire.

Consider the cost of moving forward with a forward-thinking project that you never stress-tested or getting a product decision wrong that you never gathered user feedback on. From my perspective, when you experiment, you’re obtaining the reactions necessary to decrease the risk of failure — whether that’s by testing critical assumptions, getting real-time feedback from eventual users or continually iterating based on what you hear from the market. Read more…


experimentation news roundup - upcoming events

Past Events and Webinars from Widerfunnel

experimentation news round-up articles

Who’s hiring?

Do you know of an upcoming event or current job posting we should include in this round-up? Let us know in the comments section below, and stay tuned for our next experimentation news round-up next month!

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