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Experimentation Works

The Surprising Power of Business Experiments

By (author) Stefan H. Thomke
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press, United States
Published: 18th Feb 2020
Dimensions: w 156mm h 235mm d 25mm
Weight: 515g
ISBN-10: 163369710X
ISBN-13: 9781633697102
Barcode No: 9781633697102
Don't fly blind. See how the power of experiments works for you. When it comes to improving customer experiences, trying out new business models, or developing new products, even the most experienced managers often get it wrong. They discover that intuition, experience, and big data alone don't work. What does? Running disciplined business experiments. And what if companies roll out new products or introduce new customer experiences without running these experiments? They fly blind. That's what Harvard Business School professor Stefan Thomke shows in this rigorously researched and eye-opening book. It guides you through best practices in business experimentation, illustrates how these practices work at leading companies, and answers some fundamental questions: What makes a good experiment? How do you test in online and brick-and-mortar businesses? In B2B and B2C? How do you build an experimentation culture? Also, best practice means running many experiments. Indeed, some hugely successful companies, such as Amazon,, and Microsoft, run tens of thousands of controlled experiments annually, engaging millions of users. Thomke shows us how these and many other organizations prove that experimentation provides significant competitive advantage. How can managers create this capability at their own companies? Essential is developing an experimentation organization that prizes the science of testing and puts the discipline of experimentation at the center of its innovation process. While it once took companies years to develop the tools for such large-scale experiments, advances in technology have put these tools at the fingertips of almost any business professional. By combining the power of software and the rigor of controlled experiments, today's managers can make better decisions, create magical customer experiences, and generate big financial returns. Experimentation Works is your guidebook to a truly new way of thinking and innovating.

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Named one of 16 New Business Books You Need to Read in 2020 by Inc. magazine

"[Experiments] are a powerful tool for curious teams..." - Wall Street Journal

"[Offers new] ideas on what works in the digital experimentation world and it is all illuminating." -- Financial Times

"This is a thorough, encouraging guide for leaders looking for ways to encourage their teams to fail early and often in the service of ultimate success." -- Publisher's Weekly

Advance Praise for Experimentation Works:

"Experimentation Works is required reading for all leaders who want to know how companies like Amazon, Google, and Netflix win through fast-cycle scientific experiments-and how it can be done in their organizations. Making business decisions without experimentation is like bungee jumping without testing the cord. Yet far too many organizations still do this. With Thomke's clear explanations and examples, yours won't be one of them." -- Scott Cook, cofounder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit

"Stefan Thomke has written a marvelous book that's both thought provoking and highly informative. As CEO, I saw how his research on business experimentation can transform innovation cultures for the better. Experimentation does indeed work. I highly recommend the book." -- Marijn Dekkers, Chairman, Unilever

"Experimentation Works is a masterpiece and a must-read. Thomke, a top academic authority with deep practical insights, explains how low-cost business experiments can revolutionize the way firms design everything from business models to customer experiences. The book's ideas are very powerful, rigorous, and will change how you think about the science and practice of innovation management." -- Eric von Hippel, Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; author, Democratizing Innovation

"Stefan Thomke has written the definitive handbook for executives on how to build a high-impact experimentation capability. Experimentation Works is an amazing book with some sage advice: Experiment or perish. It's absolutely the right message at the right time in a world that has gone digital." -- Jay Larson, CEO, Optimizely

"Stefan Thomke has written a rare book, one that combines deep and original insights with great practical advice. Experimentation Works is about revolutionary changes in how innovation is managed, decisions are made, and organizations are led. Thomke shows us how business experiments fuel innovation and why companies must test at large scale to compete. The book is a landmark achievement." -- Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group

"In an increasingly digital world, CEOs need to drive large-scale scientific business experimentation. If they don't, their companies will die. Companies with strong experimentation systems and cultures will win every time. If you want to learn how this is done, you must read Experimentation Works. The book will change how you think about managing and decision making." -- Mark Okerstrom, President and CEO, Expedia Group

"Being an effective leader today means acting with a sense of urgency: making many decisions quickly under great uncertainty. Experimentation Works describes a vital methodology--large-scale business experimentation--that takes the madness out of that equation and sets you and your organization up for success." -- Ajay Banga, President and CEO, Mastercard

"Business breakthroughs are achieved through the combination of great ideas and effective implementation. Stefan Thomke's work, which I applied enthusiastically during my tenure as CEO, demonstrates that a process of disciplined experimentation is the best way to drive innovation and gain sustained competitive advantage." -- Gary Loveman, former Chairman and CEO, Caesars Entertainment Corporation

"Experimentation Works presents a very compelling case for how companies can leverage the scientific method to drive innovation and reinvent business models for sustainable growth. An immensely valuable guide for leaders of both B2C and B2B companies in an era of accelerating change and disruption." -- Loh Chin-Hua, CEO, Keppel Corporation