Profitable Predictions


We all want to succeed at our projects including our innovative projects. Yet how do we measure the success of our innovation? Innovation in business in many ways is a form of experimentation. Scientists see each experiment as an opportunity to test a new hypothesis and the predictions that they have around a concept. Innovating in business should follow the same experimentation and prediction methodology.

When it comes to innovating we can learn so much from the mind of the scientists by utilising the power of predictions. So what is a prediction and how do I go about doing it?

A good example I have for this is a recent Innovation Summit that I ran at the Sydney Business School. After creating my plan for the summit I started to make predictions as to what I thought was going to happen. I had predictions on:

* The number of hits I would get to the summit website
* The number of hits I would get on a LinkedIn advertisement
* The number of registrations
* The number of actual attendees
* The number of people that would arrive late
* The number of people that would leave early
* The level of engagement 
* The number of post event sales

The value of making these predictions (and there were more) was in being able to come back and evaluate the experiment by comparing what actually happened versus what I predicted would happen. This is where we learn the most about our experiment and innovation.

After recording the learnings from an experiment we move into planning the next experiment. Innovation is a continuing process of planning, predicting, experimenting and evaluating.

The challenge that many of us face in our day to day projects is that we seldom take the time to come back and look at what we set out to achieve. The good news is even if we have completed a project but we don't record predictions we can usually retrospectively list the predictions that we had made. For example: "I recall that we made the assumption that the project would take 6 weeks to complete, that it would cost $35,000, that we would have 1500 customers sign up in the launch week and that we would have a 3% refund rate".

While it's always better to record your predictions before the event happens, applying retrospective predictions is still a valuable activity worth considering. 

To get a sense of how well you're innovating please consider taking the free 3 minute innovation diagnosis below.

Keep on Innovating.



Nils Vesk

Founder of Ideas with Legs | Innovation speaker | consultant | author

nils vesk