One of the biggest challenges facing businesses looking to compete in a digital environment is lack of experimentation, according to the latest study by MIT SMR and Deloitte. The 2018 Digital Business report found that digitally maturing organisations are more likely to experiment and iterate, something that more established companies struggle with.
Companies that have come of age digitally, such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, have a healthy appetite for experimentation, says the report published in June. While established companies are often driven by the fear of failure, their young, digital peers are constantly running experiments in order to continually improve the platform experience.
Gathering insights from over 4,000 business executives globally, the report concluded that “organisations can learn to adapt to an unexpected, ambiguous, and rapidly changing environment by investing in experimentation and figuring out what works”. It also noted that digitally maturing companies experience failures every day, which could provide a lesson to those at the lower end of the digital spectrum.
Coming of age digitally
Unlike established companies, the report suggested that digitally maturing businesses are more likely to create an environment that enables learning and innovation. It highlighted three key differences between the top and bottom performers:
1. Digitally maturing businesses encourage new ideas to be shared and tested at all levels of the organisation;
2. They encourage feedback and iteration to learn how to work in new ways;
3. They share feedback of failed experiments to increase organisational learning.
However, experimentation and iteration alone are not enough to respond to digital disruption. As well as using both the successes and failures of those experiments to drive change across the organisation, companies are also required to scale those experiments, encouraging everyone to innovate “every day they’re on the job”.