Culture of Experimentation

Learning in ESG

Experiments are important to gather data, test hypotheses, and learn. Some experiments have resulted in new products. Dr. John Pemberton, an American pharmacist, developed the original Coca-Cola recipe in the process of finding a painkiller alternative to morphine. Katy Milkman, a professor at The Wharton School, ran an experiment and found that lotteries would not encourage health behavior change, as expected.


There should be a hypothesis that leaders can test for experiments to work. Can we understand the cause and effect from the experiment? Are the results from the experiment reliable? This means that if we do X, we should get Y, time and again.

Failing as an Expectation

But experimenting should go beyond determining which email campaigns or types of videos engage users for a longer time. Business experiments could include testing new products or services, target markets, or pricing. How much more will customers pay for sustainable products and packaging? What nudges can retailers introduce to encourage consumers to bring back their products at the end of their use? What services might motivate communities to incorporate more movement and sport in their lives?

Celebrating Failure

One way to encourage experimentation is to celebrate failure and appreciate the effort. F**kup Nights, a global event series, honor professional failures. Entrepreneurs and business leaders come together and exchange their stories to create a culture that celebrates trying and practices a growth mindset.

Playing to Learn

Managing a business in the interests of all stakeholders — customers, employees, suppliers, the environment, and investors — is a new game for business leaders. Creating a culture of experimentation and designing the organization’s systems requires leaders to understand the importance of experiments and how to run experiments effectively.

Who is Lynn?

Lynn Yap is the author of The Altruistic Capitalist and founder of Actv8 Network, an organization focused on increasing the inclusion of women in technology and innovation. She is passionate about working with businesses to do good for people and the planet. Follow her on Instagram @altruisticcapitalist or sign-up for updates at See her in action here:



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Founder of Actv8 Network to increase the inclusion of women in tech. Author of The Altruistic Capitalist, about creating sustainable and prosperous businesses.