What insights can public leaders gain from leading companies about building a culture of experimentation? To find out, we’re joined by Stefan Thomke, the author of the new book Experimentation Works: The surprising Power of Business Experiments. Dr. Thomke is the William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and has published widely on the topic of the management of innovation.
As background to our interview, a growing number government agencies and jurisdictions are taking an experimental approach to driving better results. For example, in making operational improvements to programs, they’re choosing an approach or strategy by rigorously testing different approaches and seeing which one works best. (That’s in contrast to choosing an approach based on best guesses or anecdotes or the opinion of the most senior person in the room.) For examples at the federal level, for instance, see those catalogued by the Office of Evaluation Sciences. An experimental mindset, however, is still nascent in most of government. Looking to leading examples and lessons learned from public and private organizations–including the companies studied by Dr. Thomke–can help more government leaders build an experimental culture.