Michele Wong, Head of Marketing Analytics at Farfetch, is one of our inspirational speakers joining us at Women of Silicon Roundabout this November. We sat down with her to pick her brain about driving a culture of experimentation, why it’s important and how businesses can start to implement this. Find out more below and check out her lunchtime roundtable session she’ll be hosting on the first day of the event!
Why adopt a culture of experimentation?
Experimentation allows businesses to innovate and understand through facts, rather than opinion, on whether their idea works or not. Learning from experimentation helps leaders make better decisions on the direction of a company and decisions around where a business invests their resources. Successful tech companies are known to lead with experimentation, where they can have hundreds or even thousands of experiments running concurrently.
Their products are continuously optimised for their customer needs and wants given the current state of the industry and economy. So adopting a culture of experimentation ensures a business stays relevant in the current climate to survive and even potentially succeed in a competitive market!
How important is a culture of experimentation post-pandemic?
Our norm has changed from the pandemic e.g. we may continue to purchase more online than in store, see more businesses employing a hybrid work environment and may choose to travel domestically than abroad. Essentially consumer habits have changed and are continuing to change and adapt to the new environment we live in.
Given these changes, businesses need to continuously innovate, test and adapt to changing consumer behaviour in order to stay relevant and therefore survive and succeed post-pandemic.
By what means can you implement a culture of experimentation in an organisation?
To implement a culture of experimentation, organisations need to foster an inclusive, innovative and data-led environment, whilst at the same time ensuring that employees have the tools and resources available to run experiments.
To foster this culture, organisations need to:
- Ensure that everyone’s ideas are heard, regardless of their seniority
- Foster innovation and curiosity by encouraging new ideas and to experiment, no matter the outcome as we still learn if an experiment fails
- Lead decision-making with data rather than opinions where data is available
- Recognising and rewarding your employees efforts in experimentation
- Leading by example on all these points
To enable employees to run experiments, organisations can:
- Have a standardized procedure, templates and tools for experimentation for employees to set-up tests with minimal effort. This also ensures consistency in tests run across the organisation
- Invest in a central experimentation team to provide a center of excellence in experimentation which provides support and training to the rest of the organisation
- Have a training programme across the business to educate on experimentation, catering for the individual's role in the organisation
How can we maintain this mindset of experimentation?
Largely, ensure what you have implemented stays alive. One way could be for organisations to identify metrics around their goals for experimentation and setting and monitoring objectives around this. Organisations can also ensure that new hires have experimentation training incorporated into their onboarding process so they can get involved quickly. Finally, it’s important for senior leadership to be engaged with experimentation across the business and recognise efforts fostering a culture of experimentation.
Some examples of experimentation include:
- Testing different versions of the same webpage and seeing which one users are more engaged with in order to decide which version to roll-out.
- Testing the impact of a marketing channel and understanding the order of effectiveness to support marketing budget allocation decisions.
- Testing the methodology by which a company recommends products to their users in order to understand which methodology users prefer. This supports decisions on how recommendation is done in the company.