David Bland has spent nearly three decades advising start-ups and large companies in Silicon Valley, and helping them test their ideas to launch innovations in business strategies, products or services. A journey that led him to question the ethical principles and scientific rationality that guide the processes of experimentation and validation of new ideas.
“Many companies, when they want to test new ideas, sometimes do so to the detriment of consumers. I am mobilized to change this mentality, open new spaces for dialogue on the subject and send the strong message that the resilience and long-term success of a company are only possible if you test your ideas with your potential customers, and not on them, ”he emphasizes .
So that companies manage to experiment their ideas, hand in hand with consumers, he proposes to be inspired by the approach specific to the social sciences, by carrying out rigorous experiments making it possible to achieve different levels of evidence and by addressing the interests and values of different consumer groups.
1 / Make sure you have original ideas
In the world of start-ups, too many companies still choose to copy their competitor’s product by appropriating it and repositioning it, before testing it with consumers. Beyond legal considerations, this approach may have limited long-term benefits, as the company may encounter difficulty standing out and to grow with a truly innovative product or service.
2 / Opt for diversity
A diverse team, bringing together varied profiles, will be better able to understand and respond to the demands of a large and diverse panel of consumers, and to overcome certain biases. “For example, if you’ve never been harassed online, it’s hard to consider this question when you want to test your new idea for a social media platform,” says David Bland.
It is therefore useful to develop your business ideas by working with a team with different experiences and opinions. “And of them also test on a variety of potential consumers, to obtain solid data and better understand what we can bring to them, ”continues the one who is also a best-selling author.
3 / The consumer’s interest comes first
“Before testing a business idea, my advice to teams is to always ask themselves if it will really be of interest to the consumer, and if the experimentation that we are about to carry out will not manipulate it or harm him. It’s about having a more thoughtful approach to how you test an idea to get solid, fact-based data. And it is everyone’s business within the company, not just its leaders, ”explains David Bland.
He in particular proscribes the approach consisting in presenting false glowing testimonies about the product or service you want to test to attract new consumers. Again, for the long-term health and resilience of the business, it is best to test with the customers you want to attract, not them without their knowledge.