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Growth Cycles

Designing experiments creates a reliable cycle of action and reflection on top of which you can build, test and evolve the VPS Academy over time.

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Chapter Overview
Good experiments actually begin with reflecting on what we know, what we think we know, and where we want to get to.

The Build section of the experiment sheet is dedicated to building the context for your experiment. It invites you to set out the assumption(s) you’re testing, your vision for where you’re heading, and any evidence you’re basing your experiment on.

Growth Cycle: Enhanced Discovery

This experiment is focused on best and next practice being developed in technology sector in user experience, artificial intelligence, and platform design.

It is built on the evidence that new technologies are enabling alternative ways of interacting with content and new interfaces are evolving the possibilities and expectations of society.

Experiment Sheet for Growth Cycle: Enhanced Discovery

Growth Cycle: Platform Hooks

This experiment is focused on best and next practice being developed in motivational psychology, neuroscience, and interaction design.

It is built on the evidence that we can design habit forming behaviours, and can use this to build more ‘sticky’ platforms .

Experiment Sheet for Growth Cycle: Platform Hooks

Growth Cycle: Additional Engagement Tactics

This experiment is focused on supporting more members of VPS to be made aware of the Academy, and move to action and engagement.

It is built on the common understanding that people need to have receive multiple messages and regular exposure to an idea or opportunity before they engage with it. It is also based on breaking through silos of existing networks, and intentional outreach to employees of lower engagement.

Experiment Sheet for Growth Cycle: Additional Engagement Tactics

Growth Cycle: Ecosystem Connections

This experiment is focused on the development of connections beyond the Victorian Government organisation, to connect with leading knowledge and experience being developed in similar and different, yet applicable contexts.

It is built on the evidence that not all problems can be solved within an organisation’s talent pool, so external relationships (based on trust) are vital to expanding the capability of the VPS.

“In this context, it’s important to remember Bill Joy’s famous advice that, no matter how smart the people are within your organization, you should always remember that there are a lot more smart people outside your organization. For this reason, if you are really committed to scalable learning, you should find ways to build deep, trust-based relationships within a broader ecosystem of organizations so that you can mobilize the relevant expertise and talent to address unexpected performance challenges whenever they arise.If you just focus on the people within your organization, you will likely confront serious limitations to the ability to scale learning.

- Hagel & Seely-Brown https://hbr.org/2017/08/help-employees-create-knowledge-not-just-share-it

Human Capital Trends Report (Deloitte)

https://dupress.deloitte.com/dup-us-en/focus/human-capital-trends.html

Experiment Sheet for Growth Cycle: Ecosystem Connections

Experiment Best Practice

The experiments outlined above are not an exhaustive array of enquiry-based tactics for activating, sustaining and evolving an Academy. The ability to design your own experiments is fundamental to running an innovation initiative, and involves continually engaging in participatory action research that moves with the current state and culture of VPS. Consider this a crash course guide to writing your own experiments, to help you on that journey.

Step 1: Build

Good experiments actually begin with reflecting on what we know, what we think we know, and where we want to get to.

The Build section of the experiment sheet is dedicated to building the context for your experiment. It invites you to set out the assumption(s) you’re testing, your vision for where you’re heading, and any evidence you’re basing your experiment on.

Hint: testing multiple assumptions in one experiment will make it much harder to draw out clear insights and actions, so we suggest breaking down the ideas into a number of smaller experiments.

Action: Fill in Purpose & Hypothesis sections

Hint: try to write your hypothesis in a way that you are able to disprove your ideas if they are wrong. Using numbers, time frames and other falsifiable methods can help with this.

Step 2: Measure

The value of experiments is not just in the ‘action’ of doing, but it’s in the way we learn from that action.

The Measure section of the experiment sheet is dedicated to supporting you to work out what you should be listening out for and measuring. It invites you to set out the activities you will undertake, any tools you will rely on, and how you will know whether the experiment has (dis)proved your hypothesis.

Hint: this provides an opportunity to think of multiple different ways you could explore your assumptions and hypotheses. Try to look beyond your first idea and ask how else you could get different results.

Action: Fill in Overview, Tools, Metrics & Criteria sections

Step 3: Learn

Reflective practice is at the core of experiment design. This is your opportunity to make sense of the insights from your experiment.

The Learn section of the experiment sheet is dedicated to documenting the outcome of your experiment and creating momentum for the future. It invites you to record your raw data, draw insight from the data, and make recommendations for the next cycle.

Hint: there’s a variety of ways you can do sensemaking and synthesis well, and most of them rely on getting away from a screen and getting your data all out onto a wall or table to create patterns and themes. Explore different ways in which you can do this over time.

Action: Fill in Observations, Insights, Decisions/Actions sections.

Final Note

Designing experiments creates a reliable cycle of action and reflection on top of which you can build, test and evolve the VPS Academy over time.

If you would like to explore this in more detail, we can arrange for more in depth training and development to hone your skills.