Leveraging experimentation to shape the future. - Reuters News Agency

Leveraging experimentation to shape the future.

Alphonse Hardel, Reuters global head of strategy & agency business development, explains how experimentation can help shape the future.

Jan 15, 2018

Experimentation is at the heart of Reuters mission. We are constantly rethinking what brings value to our clients, that means keeping a sense of open-mindedness and accepting fresh ideas.

Alphonse Hardel, Reuters global head of strategy & agency business development says, “Experimentation has to be more than blind trial and error. It has to be thoughtfully devised and strategically carried out.”

Here, Hardel shares insights into three characteristics of an experimentation-focused outlook that can help publishers shape their future strategy…

Experimentation has to be more than blind trial and error. It has to be thoughtfully devised and strategically carried out”.

— Alphonse Hardel, global head of strategy, Reuters

1. Look for “edge cases”

“Edge cases” are clients who don’t look like other clients. In many situations, this type of client has a new approach that’s worth considering.

Their business model may be singular, for example, or they may want to use your products and services in ways your organization had not envisioned.

Companies that address the market in a different ways, such as diversifying their products, end up leading it; in just a few years, the outsider can become the forerunner.

If an idea or approach strikes you as challenging, it may be worth stepping back and considering it more fully. It could offer a preview of what the future looks like, help you anticipate upcoming changes in your industry and prepare for them with a first-mover advantage.

2. Consider how technology shapes consumer preference

Many organizations think of technology only insofar as it can serve them and their needs, in what can be described as incremental. Reuters Institute research has found that technology is rapidly changing consumer habit. In the news industry the way people consume content is changing because technology has changed.

Unprecedented connectivity has enabled the rise of video on-demand, which is rapidly displacing linear television; smartphones and tablets have transformed the publishing industry and diminished print’s importance.

A forward-thinking organization, though, will also try to consider how technical change might deeply morph their consumers’ preferences, habits, day-to-day experiences. These organizations will look into how these changes unlocks opportunities to create entirely new products and services that meet a new set of needs that didn’t exist previously.

3. Define your tolerance for failure

A group with a mandate to experiment needs to have a culture where a certain level of failure is acceptable. Not everything is going to succeed, and being candid about when a project or an idea is not meeting success thresholds is key.

Of course, that isn’t the kind of environment that can be created out of nowhere, and highlighting the strategic lessons from unsuccessful initiatives is the way to ensure the organization moves forward and constantly improves its ‘return on innovation.’

Managing time horizons and expectations is essential to that process. It’s easier to say yes to an initiative when there are some parameters set around it, and it’s also good practice to build a portfolio with a healthy mix of moderate impact and less risky projects with longer term ‘moonshots’ that could profoundly transform your business. Provided, of course, you can keep the necessary level of focus and avoid dispersion.

Reuters Connect offers publishers the opportunity to experiment with content with its flexible points system. This allows you to use points only on what you download giving you the opportunity to access all visual content from Reuters and our partners without having to pay for multiple subscriptions or multiple feeds, from multiple suppliers.

This was originally published on Thomson Reuters blog.

Experiment with your coverage: Explore Reuters Connect