There are many ways we transform questions and uncertainty into confidence, new products, or innovative solutions. Experimentation and trial is one that many seem compelled to avoid. Give respect to the power of trial and experimentation, and to its risks.

Right now I’m working on a project with a friend of mine and it strikes me how differently we approach the development of our vision. He finds it simpler and quicker to run calculations and probabilities. I prefer to lie out a scenario and try it to see what happens.

Throughout the various realms of product development, innovation, and process improvement we experience similar differences in preference. It seems that many prefer to find ways to model the problem or the solution and run simulations to arrive at an answer; the minority will prototype, test, and experiment.

Even in the realm of Six Sigma experts, where designed experiments are not only taught as a powerful tool, but experience with them is mandated for many to earn their Black Belt certification. Because of the expense and time required to develop and conduct careful, scientific experimentation, it seems to be disfavored. We try to find simulations instead.

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