Feb 2020 Round-up: Test/Optimize/Repeat, Perfectionism at the cost of growth, Praising innovation regardless of outcome, and more!

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

Widerfunnel Experimentation News Round-Up for February is here! 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: February 2020

How to Improve Digital Customer Experience: Test, Optimize, Repeat – AdAge – By Drew Neisser

Carl Tsukahara, CMO of Optimizely, says every aspect of digital marketing and the user experience can and should be tested—not only to optimize ad performance, but also to increase the likelihood that prospective customers will have a fruitful journey. Tsukahara’s bullishness on testing—his company describes itself as “the world’s leading experimentation platform”—is not surprising. Still, it’s hard to imagine a CMO who can thrive without some level of testing and experimentation. Read more…

How to Set Up — and Learn — from Experiments – Harvard Business Review/HBR IdeaCast with Curt Nickisch

Stefan Thomke, professor at Harvard Business School, says running experiments can give companies tremendous value, but too often business leaders make decisions based on intuition. While A/B testing on large transaction volumes is common practice at Google, Booking.com, and Netflix, Thomke says even small firms can get a competitive advantage from experiments. He explains how to introduce, run, and learn from them, as well as how to cultivate an experimental mindset at your organization. Thomke is the author of the book Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments and the forthcoming HBR article “Building a Culture of Experimentation.” Read more…

Disruptors vs Incumbents: The Driving Force of Customer Experience Innovation – Canadian Marketing Blog – By Nick So

The list of relatively new entrants that have been able to significantly disrupt incumbent industry giants in a fairly short period of time is endless. These ‘disruptor’ organizations have products and services that are similar to those of the incumbents, but they often win by putting customer experience first. Read more… 

Cohley Raises $1.5 Million to Change the Way Brands Generate Content – AIT News Desk

“With the rise of social networks, multi-variate testing and the transition to highly personalized marketing, brands and agencies need more content than ever. Cohley is uniquely positioned to address this challenge and we’re thrilled to support their journey,” says Pat Matthews, CEO & Founder of Active Capital.

The brands that are gaining market share are rapidly iterating and A/B testing thousands of assets to optimize performance. They’re avoiding the trap of letting “gut feel” dictate their content decisions and relying on data to inform their decision making instead.. Gone are the days when marketers crafted one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns in dimly lit conference rooms with single malt scotches in hand. Read more…

From UN Volunteer to Head of Experimentation: a journey of innovation and questioning – UN Volunteers Blog – By Oumayma Raimi-Rodè

I am writing this article to call for ideas from you, from my network. As Head of Experimentation, my new role is to identify hypotheses in order to solve these frontier challenges creating bottlenecks, and contribute to achieving the SDGs in an accelerated manner. I am part of what UNDP calls the “fastest learning network in the world”, a network of 60 laboratories dedicated to innovation all over the world. My role is to formulate and test hypotheses of how we can collectively do things better by listening and learning from what “lead users” on the ground are currently doing.

Innovation does not have to be technology and technology is not always innovative. My point here is to think of innovation as the capacity to listen and look at a situation with new eyes and ears to maybe solve frontier challenges that the people emerged in the context don’t have the time or possibility to see.   Read more…

New growth study: Perfectionism is costing German businesses billions in digital growth – LinkedIn Blog – By Andre Morys 

When I saw the numbers of our recent international study I immediately realised the problem. I’ve known for years that German companies have a serious fear of failure, trading perfection for innovation. But it wasn’t until I read GO Group Digital’s recent report, “How digital experimentation is driving growth worldwide” that I got validation. The results for Germany were worse than I expected. Read more…

How Pro Innovators Manage Risk – Forbes – By Lisa Bodell

Another point of difference between innovators and everyone else is a willingness to convert risk into experimentation. While the phrase “risk-taking” has a negative connotation, companies with innovative cultures often use the word “experimentation” instead.

In your own company, ask leadership to support and celebrate experimentation even when it results in failure. Publicly supporting and praising innovative behavior regardless of outcome helps encourage a corporate climate where people aren’t afraid to fail. Read more…

Google is “experimenting” with changes after backlash over Search redesign – Fast Company – By Jared Newman

Google now says it’s “experimenting” with how it displays favicons in desktop search. “Our early tests of the design for desktop were positive,” the company said. “But we appreciate the feedback, the trust people place in Google, and we’re dedicating to improving the experience.” For now, it looks like Google has removed the favicons from desktop searches outright, but the company says it may test alternative placements over the coming weeks. Read more…

What Is Google Labs And Why Is It Appearing On Some Phones? – Brinkwire.com

We’ve known for awhile that Labs was set to make a comeback on mobile, and it seems to already be appearing for some people.

While some Google users will get a taste of new features as part of A/B testing, there hasn’t been a dedicated platform for trialling Google features for about nine years. However, as 9To5Google discovered in a tear down of the 9.23 version of the Google app, a new version of Labs has been in the works since at least 2019. Read more…

Uber is testing out a new 1-800 number for people who don’t use apps – The Verge – By Andrew J Hawkins

This experiment may be new for Uber, but it’s probably pretty familiar to anyone who remembers calling a car service in the pre-Uber days. The number is only available to people who live in Arizona for now. Uber says that Arizonans without access to the app can call 1-833-USE-UBER to request a ride from a live team member. That customer service rep will provide an upfront price using the same pricing algorithm that powers the app. Read more…

6 Ways That Emerging Technology Is Disrupting Business Strategy – Harvard Business School – By Danielle Kost

“Firms can now rapidly and cheaply experiment with crucial competitive decisions like pricing, product positioning, and which markets to serve. Historically, these decisions relied on master plans and involved time horizons measured in decades. Now, online platforms, algorithms, and ubiquitous data allow firms to test these decisions quickly, sometimes in a matter of months or weeks.

Recent work (pdf) by myself and colleagues at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business suggests these ‘experimental strategies’ improve performance in new ventures, but questions, such as whether experiments bias firms toward easy-to-test and measure ideas and markets, remain.”

(Rembrand M. Koning (@orgRem), an assistant professor of business administration who studies experimentation, A/B testing, and agile strategies.) Read more…

Nine brands innovating customer-centric retailing today – ClickZ – By Nikole Wintermeier

  • Most customer-centric retailers today are still defined by their likeability, friendliness, and individualized engagement with their customers across different channels.
  • Being customer-centric is not only about having a “think digital-first” mindset. Instead, retailers need to integrate business best-practices with marketing best-practices to profit from a holistic picture of their customers.
  • We look at case studies from the likes of Nike, Amazon, Nordstrom, Burberry, IKEA, etc. that shows what make them some of the most customer-centric retailers out there today Read more…

Bonus #TBT Article: How Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Amazon Learn from Failure – Harvard Business Review – By Bill Taylor 


experimentation news roundup - upcoming events

Past Events and Webinars from Widerfunnel

[NEXT WEBINAR] Groomed for success: Dollar Shave Club wins with experimentation – Feb 26th 2020 – Hosted By Dollar Shave Club/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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