Prototyping and Experimentation for Business Innovation in Africa

[Want to get automatic updates on ethel cofie’s blog post of Africa, technology, ecosystems and doing business in Africa sign up here ]



Why and How to Use Prototyping and Experimentation for Business Innovation


On your innovation journey as a business, it is important to test out ideas, gather data which in turn will inform your decisions. An effective way to do this is to experiment and prototype, you create a version of the product and have clients use and give feedback. This is important because it saves you from spending money upfront on a big scale project which you are not sure will work, enables you understand the viability of a project and finally it allows you iron out the kinks on any type of product before you scale it

Below are 5 rules of experimentation and prototyping for Innovation


  1. Set Key performance Indicators:

 Know what you are solving and set up performance indicators or matrixes to help decide what failure and success is. In the quest to bring a new product or service into the market, it is important to identify if this product or service is actually needed. Run experiments with options available to better understand your target market and what their actual needs are.


[Want to get automatic updates on ethel cofie’s blog post of Africa, technology, ecosystems and doing business in Africa sign up here ]
  1. Simulate only what you want to test:

It is advisable not to put too many variables in one experiment. For instance, firstly, test for the targeted customer segment, this could be followed by a test to know whether there is a need for the product or service and then move on to test for which variation of products works. By doing so sequentially you are able to identify your successes and failures verses doing everything all at once.


  1. Use the right tools:

Explore as many digital tools that work for experimenting and prototyping easier. Examples of such are Google Forms, Google analytics, SMS, Unbounce (usually paired with Facebook advertising or any form of advertising to push people to your page and gives a performance matrix to see preferred client option). Note, the possibilities of digital for businesses are endless, find what works best for you.


  1. Learn from assumptions:

 Through prototyping and experimentation, a business is able to learn and make better decisions on the innovation journey. Iterate as many times as possible your ideas through the running of a series of experiments. From what you learn in your first experiment, run a second experiment and simply repeat same for subsequent experiments. It is important with this strategy to keep data and analytics: keep records of what you are learning through your innovation journey to make the best decisions.


  1. Be cheap

Find cheap but effective ways to test out your ideas and innovations, as a business it is not wise to spend a lot of resources on experimenting and prototyping.