Thought Leadership

Why These Tech Companies Keep Running Thousands Of Failed Experiments

Why These Tech Companies Keep Running Thousands Of Failed Experiments

Twenty-odd years ago, most big companies would run just a handful of experiments each year. Today, the most innovative businesses run thousands–Intuit: 1,300, P&G: 7,000–10,000, Google: 7,000, Amazon: 1,976, and Netflix: 1,000–thanks to a combination of new technologies and “lean” business approaches. And it isn’t just quantity that’s rising but the quality and pace of experimentation, too. These days, the true test of how innovative a company can be is how well it experiments.

The Costs Of Innovating



This is hardly a secret. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos has said, “Our success at Amazon is a function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.”

"Most experiments fail, no matter how well-designed."

What makes that possible? For one thing, Bezos explained in a 2011 book interview, “We’ve tried to reduce the cost of doing experiments so that we can do more of them,” he tells The Innovator’s DNA coauthors Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen. “If you can increase the number of experiments you try from a hundred to a thousand, you dramatically increase the number of innovations you produce.”

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