Welcome to the twenty-third of our Entrepreneurial Wednesdays series. In this series, I share my thoughts on lean entrepreneurship as I take my first steps in my journey. I will be sharing my lessons learned with you.
The creation if Innovation Sandbox is a crucial process which destines innovation in a company to either success or failure. Right now, it should be no surprise to you when I note that management and its effort to create a great environment for innovators is crucial to the whole process. In order to have a strong and supportive environment, Eric Ries points out several steps that need to be executed properly.
Here’s the recipe.
Innovation Sandbox, how to explain it? It’s an environment in which the management can openly support the innovation team in any matter. Also, inside the sandbox, innovations can impact only the interior without having an impact on the surrounding company environment and its resources. To which, as a startup, you just can’t say no! This is how the sandbox works in a nutshell:
- Each team can create a REAL A/B test which will ONLY have an impact on concrete parts of the product or service or concrete segments of customers.
- One team has to finish its A/B test from beginning until the end.
- There has to be a deadline set for each A/B test. This makes sure that you are being efficient with the time. Usually, an A/B test takes a couple of weeks.
- Under no circumstances can an experiment have an impact on bigger customer segment than it was settled originally.
- Each experiment has to be judged according to several criteria which were created in the early stages of the experiment.
- Each team and each product working in the sandbox has to be judged under the SAME METRICS.
- Each team has to monitor the results and the process of experimenting. Pay attention to the customer segment reaction and if something goes horribly wrong, cancel the test.
These are the simple rules which should be followed if you want your sandbox to work. Every single one is very logical and can be adapted a little (f.e. criteria).
In the early stages of the innovation sandbox, it should be small so that it’s clear how it works and you can monitor the activities with ”one look”. By being small I mean focusing the team on a customer segment which is rather small or focusing from a geographical perspective.
If you really want to make things work, pay attention to the skills of the team. It’s great and useful to have a multi function team. But it’s just awesome if you have a leader of the team or a leader who will have the biggest decision-making power. Someone, who doesn’t have to check twice with his boss to implement something really fast.
Last but not least, judge the performance of the team not by how many activities are doing, but the value they are bringing to the whole environment, even the surrounding ”outside-the-sandbox” environment. Many people don’t clearly understand it and they can get confused when they have a look inside the sandbox.
Make sure you understand the basics of the sandbox and there’s nothing that can stop you.
Do you have a sandbox in your company? Give us your 2 cents on this topic and tell us if it made any impact. Thanks so much !