The essence of innovation is this — Experimentation.

I was fortunate in my working life to spend 10 years at Citibank and American Express (as marketing director).

Both of these companies used direct marketing extensively.

This was a discipline that placed a premium on testing new approaches, measuring the results and comparing these results to the ‘control’ (A/B tests).

We tried to make these tests as scientific as possible so that we could see what was working and what was not.

This practice of testing everything then became second nature to me.

It has helped me to live a more creative life.

Because sensible testing or experimentation enables you to:

– Try new things

– Take risks

– Accelerate your learning

– Progress a project

– Improve your productivity

– Constantly want to improve and

– Be more open to new ideas and possibilities.

What’s more an entire experimentation program can be planned and managed.

I have now extended the idea of testing to all parts of my life (ok not my marriage) and my own business. Perhaps there is a new way to email a customer or try a new approach via twitter or offer an incentive to have my invoices paid quicker.

With a testing mindset, anything is possible.

In fact, I often challenge leaders with the question, what are you or your team testing this week?

It does not have to be big but lots of small, fast, simple tests can enhance your business and your life.

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