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Reducing Uncertainty Through Disciplined Experimentation

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Davide SOLA, Gianfranco SCALABRINI and Giovanni SCARSO BORIOLI


New product development (NPD) is an inherently uncertain process. Such
uncertainty translates into a strong risk for companies in the process of new
product/services development, which typically involves involve substantial
investments committed upfront.


The article presents an innovative methodology for to reduce this innovationrelated
risk. In particular the methodology is based on the principle of
“disciplined experimentation”, a structured process to identify quickly the key
vivid needs of the customers (Job To be Done), reproduce the key features of
the new service/product to satisfy these needs (fast prototyping), and
simulate a realistic customer journey directly with the final customers. A
rigorous testing protocol and a continuous improvement process support
these experimentation steps.


This approach allows testing the main working hypotheses, pivoting them
continuously to verify the value (clients are ready to pay for the
product/service a price “p” higher than the cost “c” needed to deliver the
product/service), growth (how to scale up the tested hypotheses up to the
entire target segment) and sustainability (how to enable the needed change
in internal culture and prevent direct competitors to quickly replicate the
value proposition).


The article presents two concrete cases of “action research”, where
researchers have been directly involved within the design and delivery of the
this methodology in two different industries, fast fashion and heating systems
manufacturing, and the lesson learned from them.


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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