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Mind Your Noodles Podcast – Episode 56
Episode 56 – Experimentation
Experiments and Organizations
One Best Way Holds Us Back
Hierarchy Can Block Learning
The Need to Experiment
The 95 Method and Experimentation
Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:06] Take care of the brains that take care of you with a Mind Your Noodles podcast keep you up to date on the latest neuroscience research and practices to keep your brain healthy and strategies to help your organization brain friendly.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:27] Hi, I’m Tripp Babbitt, host of the Mind Your Noodles podcast. And this week, I want to talk about experimentation, especially in light of the Corona virus that really got me thinking. Pless and H.B are Harvard Business Review article came out that kind of caught my attention. So talking in terms of what’s going on with the coronavirus, you know, everybody wants to go back to work. Testing in many people’s mind has not been ruled out in the U.S. or really many other countries to the point gives people confidence that the person sitting next to him or that they’re working with is COVID 19 freeCorona virus free.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:18] So there’s a number of things associated with testing. I don’t want to get into all of them. In fact, it’s not really my area of specialty. But, you know, testing has its own difficulties. And how well a test is done certainly is something to you can Google and read about in a lot of the there’s many articles out on it. So, for instance, you know, one of the things that happens is you could get a false positive after a test or you get a false negative, just meaning that a false positive, meaning that says, yes, you have it and then you really don’t have it. And then a false negative being that you don’t have it, but you do. So in looking at that, it’s it creates quite a problem not only with the testing itself and the confidence of the testing, but it’s something to kind of be aware of. If you’re one of those people likes to be aware of what’s going on around you, that won’t make you an expert. There are a lot of articles on line that you can read about testing.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:02:25] And what makes it problematic is that and I’ve read article and actually put a link to it is that 50 percent of people who even have the Corona virus have no symptoms. I saw that statistic. And whether it’s true or not, I don’t know. But if that’s true, this can be very difficult to get a hold of the kind of virus and they keep it from spreading because then you really don’t know. And even if you don’t have a temperature, that doesn’t mean you aren’t somebody that’s a carrier. And there’s a lot of questions associated with that.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:05] And I’m sure these are all things that people that are scientists in these areas are all working on to try and figure out what the extent of it is.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:14] But it got me to thinking about experiments and, you know, for a vaccine or testing involves running multiple experiments and running them on humans to figure out how much confidence we can have not only in the testing, but in the vaccine that’s being developed. And the H.B article was titled titled Building a Culture of Experimentation. Now, everything these days seems to point to culture, and I don’t know necessarily how the people operationally define what culture is. But this article goes through and talks about running experiments in places like LinkedIn and Netflix and Amazon and booking dot com. And a lot of digital companies have.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:04:15] It’s easy for them to run an experiment and you can say this color versus that color and which one has more sales. And it’s statistically significant that B is better than A. These are called a B tests between two things.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:04:33] And then there’s design of experiments which gets into multi factors that you can look at to see which ones have the greatest influence. But a B testing is is relatively simple and almost anybody can run an A, B test. If you’d just understand some of the basics associated with it. So digital companies, technology companies are already attuned.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:05:01] If you’re if you have a Web site or if you have something out there, it’s it’s really easy to run a test. Now, the interesting part. Is that most organizations do not run experiments imperfect. It’s a taboo word in the business world beyond technology companies. Not every company, but for the most part, people don’t consider what affect and or use an experiment to improve their organizations. And matter of fact.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:05:40] You could look almost at any company that’s out there in the service or or hopefully not the manufacturing industry. I don’t operate as much in that industry anymore, but running A B tests or some type of test associated with their product or service and the A B test being very simple is just A being the way you’re doing it today, and B, a different way, a different color, a different product, whatever it might be, or an improvement to a feature of a product or service. And looking at new ways and what we know from all types of data that are out there is that companies do not run experiments and they’re averse to running experiments because of this mentality that we have associated with that.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:38] There’s one best way. And this is pretty well ingrained. You don’t want to be the person out there that’s advocating for experiments and a lot of organizations, because you have to know the answer, especially if you’re an executive in an organization. You should know the answer to that. Well, you don’t. And oftentimes the hierarchy gets in the way.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:07:01] Now, the speech may be what the HBR article is talking about with regards to culture is that if somebody if the president says, well, I don’t care what the data tells me, which is completely ridiculous, then, but I want it pink or I want it blue because that’s my preferences. Most people are going to, you know, lay over in my most techno technology companies. You don’t have that strong hierarchy or at least you have informed executives that know that the data, if something is statistically different and better, even if you don’t like it. Obviously, your customers do. And that’s that’s the direction that you want to head. So. It’s a matter of in building a brain friendly organization, we need to build into our thinking that we want to use data when it’s available and useful to us as opposed to using the hierarchy. Now, this crosses a lot of the lines of things that we talk about. If you run an experiment and you know that you get 50 percent more sales from using, you know, a blue car than a red cart, then that seems pretty evident.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:21] But if the CEO says, no, I want the red car and not the blue cart. And then that that creates a problem because there’s a sense of fairness, loss. There’s a sense of autonomy that’s lost. And in these technology companies, they’re encouraged to run lots of experiments where and when you’re in other industries, not so much.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:46] So in order to to make significant improvements, there has to be this mental shift to be able to not only trust employees and give them the autonomy and be fair to what they are and also affects their status, too. If you’re constantly coming in and making as an executive, making the decisions for people, there’s no being learning.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:09:11] They’re going to be clocking out. The minute that they arrive in the morning, just because they know that whatever that they come up with, even if it’s the right new thing, they’re going to shut down and basically say, can’t wait to get out of here at 5:00 or move on to another organization. So this message of experimentation that I have is built in to what I have in the ninety five method. No, it doesn’t matter whether it’s innovation, redoing the structure.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:09:42] You’re using data in your organization.All of those things involve experimentation and kind of getting away from the taboo nature of the word experimentation and accepting it. Too often in organizations we make the decision, we move forward and then, oh, we got, you know, kind of wipe our hands clean. We made that decision. Now we can move on. And if anybody brings it back up, you know, in the next day or week or month. So we all we long ago made that decision to go in that direction. Well, what if it’s not working? And. And this is this experimentation mentality that we need to get in business and encourage experimentation because experimentation leads to to innovation. Now, some of businesses are harder than others.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:10:37] On the surface, because, like I said, in technology companies or if you’re a company that’s run digitally through Web sites and things, and that’s almost every company nowadays. But it’s a good place to start because it’s easy to do to run an A B test on something that does.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:10:54] If I did this, what about if I tried something different and that that mentality needs to be rooted in our brains and allowing people to experiment with new ways and there will be failures. That’s where learning comes in. As long as we learn from it as opposed to just.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:11:17] Plowing forward with a decision that we made without making necessary changes to it, pivoting from it, making changes of things that that we learn, and so the learning needs to be ingrained in two.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:11:37] Any decision that’s made and coming up with experiments and being okay with that word that it’s an experiment that you’re running and if you’re not doing it, other companies will ultimately learn new and better ways. So you become the stagnant status quo company that nobody wants to work for. And competitors are starting to eat your lunch. And it gets back to some of these old sayings like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And and all of those types of things just have no place in today’s organizations and businesses today because everything has always been broken. There’s always a better way.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:12:21] And you need to be proactively looking for ways to improve the product or service that you have.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:12:32] So one of the things that you will find in the ninety five method and in the upcoming coming education system release is asking through the thinking lens, what is you what do you think about experimentation as an organization? Because ultimately experimentation is going to lead to failure.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:12:55] You’re going to try a different color cart. You’re going to try a different way of going about and providing a service. And it may not work better than than what you had before. And, you know, there’s two there’s one or two parts that are typically happen. One is, oh, well, they failed and therefore, you’re an idiot.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:16] And we don’t want to listen to that person again because they failed in that particular product project or they embrace that failure and say, OK, well, we learn.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:28] So that’s one way not to do it. And so you can move forward as organization and try something else, or at least in the environment where you ran the experiment, it didn’t work.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:13:40] So this is built in to the training is that you learn how to do something called PDSA, which is plan to study, act on the results that you have. You develop theory. We talk about theories at work as part of the theory, the thinking lens that you use. And through that thinking lens is where we develop our theories at work, whether they’re conscious or unconscious when you’re within your organization.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:14:13] And that’s part of the education system is going to make some of these shine light on some of these things where you’ve just accepted them and start to question the thinking that goes on within your organizations. And then we’ll begin to look at experiments to say, OK, well, that’s our theory today on that. What if we changed it? What if we did something different? And a way of going about this is typical.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:14:40] You don’t have to blow up your whole system at once, you know? And I think that’s what we do actually in governments. When we here in the United States, we get a new president or a new regime or administration is whole heartedly just take a new theory and say, well, this is what I believe in. Between what you believe in, what is actually a good outcome are really two different things. And running experiments would would allow us to propel ourselves forward not only as as individual countries, but also as a government and businesses and organizations, because you’re constantly learning. And so this is what’s built into the education system as we go through it, is to make you aware of what your thinking is so that you can identify it become. It goes from potentially being an unconscious thing that’s going on to a very conscious thing. And then we can start to play with new theories. And again, preferably on a small scale, we don’t have to blow up the whole system. Typically, there are ways to run smaller experiments and learn from them and refine them, scrap them or keep them if they’re working. That’s it for this week. We will continue down the path of what types of things are in the education system and future episodes. And I’d like to use the Corona virus as examples of ways that organizations can kind of learn about what’s happening and how we can create education around that, because there are so many parallels that go on and we’re all stuck right now. So stay safe.
Tripp Babbitt: [00:16:40] If you are an existing executive looking for new ideas or a refresh, a new executive trying to understand a new organization or an aspiring executive looking for a leg up on other people, that you’re competing for an executive position, the ninety five method provides executive education. You can apply by studying your own organization. We’ll give you the necessary skills not taught at universities in synthetic thinking, neuroscience, executive data analytics, decision making innovation and a customer in organizational structure. You can get a preview of the training right now at Mind Your Noodles dot com forward slash free or at the ninety five method dot com for slash free. This was a limited time offer. Before we start to offer the executive education for a an investment that is undetermined at this point.