The Right to Experiment

Play, try, fail, learn and find the unexpected solutions for your challenges of tomorrow

The Right to Experiment, a Manifesto

The world needs experimentation to find the unknown solutions required to solve our future challenges. This manifesto describes the beliefs and principles for good experimentation practices.

Beliefs

All people are unique in their skills, knowledge and networks.
From the day that you are born you are unique in developing your skills, building knowledge and meeting people.

All people are creative.
Remember the playful first years of your life, where you used your fantasy to compensate for all you did not yet understand? If you would not be creative, you could never have developed yourself with the skill set and knowledge that you have today.

People are always motivated solve real challenges.
Research shows that people – especially creative thinkers – have three intrinsic motivators: autonomy (self-directed work), mastery (getting better at stuff), and purpose (serving a greater vision). People also have the enormous ability to learn new things, share them with others, fueling the learning of others. Processes do not solve real challenges, they only ensure that things we know become repeatable. And we have not yet invented the machine equal to the human brain’s creative competencies.

Principles

Every experiment is founded on the drive to solve a meaningful challenge.
You are responsible for your own experiment. Nobody has unlimited access to personal or other resources which we share on this planet. If you are asked to explain why you put your energy in and experiment, you better be able to explain what your dream is and why it is meaningful. Not sure how to formulate your challenge? Just start with “It would be great if …”

Experimentation requires diversity.
You learn the most from people who are different to you. Good experimentation practices respect and use diversity within a team focused on solving a meaningful challenge. Not sure how to look for diversity? Just start with “I would like to learn from …”

Experimentation is driven by ideation.
The need to be right all the time is the biggest barrier to find the best idea. Taking time to collect all unconventional ideas, not judging but helping others to develop the idea is a crucial competency for ideation. Ideation is sharing questions, ideas to give others the opportunity to build upon your ideas. Not sure how to find creative, innovative ideas? Just start with “What if …”

Experimentation includes failure.
Experimentation is all about trying something new. This requires controlled risk taking, accepting that you will run into failure on your road towards the unknown solution. In experimentation, failure is an accepted way of learning. Not sure how to report your failure? Just start with “I learned that …”.

Experimentation focuses on showing by example.
Experiments are most powerful if they give the audience the experience of the benefits as close to reality as possible. Methods used to achieve this are visualisation and prototyping. They enable you to “learn fast and fail cheap”. Not sure how to set up a prototype? Just start with “I want to demonstrate the benefits of …”. 

The purpose of an experiment is to gain new insights on  an unknown solution.
The definition of new and unknown are always relative to your unique situation. New insights can be small or big, local or global, personal or for your organization. You can even find new insights on solutions that you were not looking for. New insights – as the output of an experiment – are to be shared and used immediately. It is all about developing your adaptive capacityNot sure how to share your new insight? Just start with “I just achieved to …”.

When complying with these principles, everybody has the Right to Experiment. Having this right does not make experimentation mandatory for all. Some people are not good in experimenting, some just don’t like the challenge of the unknown. However, when you need to look for the unknown solution for a tough challenge, you should use your right, apply these principles and start by saying: “It would be great if …”

Want to help improving my insights on this manifesto? Just leave a reply.

Hungry for more information? Follow @R2XP on Twitter.

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2011 by in Good Practices and tagged , , , , , , .

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