Skip to content
Kalle Heinonen11.10.2019 15:584 min read

Data feeds growth through innovation and experimentation

Greetings from the biggest business event in the Nordics!

Once again NBF proved to be inspiring and motivating networking event. Carla Harris gave such power motivation speech which I’ll never forget. I decided to follow the red line that connects all of the talks together and interestingly there was a lot of similarities. There was a clear pattern while listening to all key notes. Leadership needs to commit on providing freedom (psychological safety) to experiment (fail & succeed) and analyse success (data) in order to be able to grow with innovations.  This sentence is backed by data as the following wordings repeated throughout the event:

  • I have data on this
  • There was massive study made on this
  • Data shows
  • It is backed with data
  • Experiment it
  • Testing
  • Growth
  • Learning
  • Innovation
  • Prototyping
  • Leadership commitment
  • Psychological safety
  • Diversity

As an executive summary, leaders should embrace the culture that builds psychological safety and culture of experimentation among the employees. Diversity enhances the differentiation which enables to innovate in new segments. In order to do so leaders should allow room for smart failure in all areas of innovation. It’s ok to fail once, then take data on it and succeed after that. Obviously this depends on what kind of organisation you run. If you are in a medical development business then failure is part of your constant learning curve. If you are on Customer Experience Optimisation business then failing on one thing is ok once, then you learn from it and optimise accordingly. 

How to create psychological safety?

Anssi Rantanen gave a great speech on what I think was a 101 on growth hacking and making sure your colleagues feel safe when applying experimentations for innovations. He says: growth requires experimentation but it’s not possible without psychological safety.

Wikipedia on Psychological Safety: Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. It can be defined as “being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences of self-image, status or career” (Kahn 1990, p. 708). In psychologically safe teams, team members feel accepted and respected.

Anssi says that in order to create psychological safety, you need to:

  1. Underscore importance of contribution
  2. Ask for honest feedback
  3. Be honest about having failed yourself

Juliet Funt explained how the WhiteSpace can help you to be more productive and ease stress?

There is a difference between activity and productivity. Activity can be time consuming emails and slacks sent to you or it can be important task related to company’s brand building for which all of your contribution is required for.

four questions that help you define WhiteSpace discipline:

Is there anything I can let go?
Where is good enough really good enough?
What do I truly need to know?
What deserves my attention?

Being able to identify the waste of communication gives more time for experimenting and innovating.


Timing is everything: Should you launch your product in the morning or late in the evening, or both?

Timing is everything! We’ve seen that in advertising, in social media marketing, in sports, in war, in love, in everything. However, now there is another very interesting study made on this. Daniel Pink came to share with us research and scientific secrets about timing. There were plenty of great examples but one special thing you should remember: Never go to the hospital in the afternoon. Never ever do that. Study shows that in the afternoon hands are washed less often and mistakes are made more often in the afternoon.

My day Stage Task
Morning Peak Analytic
2 o’clock Through Administrative
Evening Recovery Insight

We all have our peak, through and recovery times during the day. For each time we have our best suitable task we can perform. Figuring out your stage helps you identify what you should do and when and how to make better decisions. 


Start it and you most probably finish it.

Professor Costas Markides gave us great thoughts on innovation and good examples of innovation in real life. His slides were graphically poor, yet very good from content. He gave us an example of coffee shop loyalty card. Loyalty card with 8 stamps would be used together with loyalty card of 11 stamps, of which 3 were already stamped. This means they both need 7 to fulfil the 8th or 11th free coffee. The one with 2 stamps already at the start worked better, because people are more likely to finish a task when they begin it… interesting.

…That’s why I thought, If I’ll start this blog, I might actually finish it. I did not have more time to write about this, I may have failed in writing this, but I did have the courage to start this because we have a culture that embraces psychological safety and because I started this, I also finished it.