Session 4: Testing New Business Ideas With Data

Mike Watson, Partner, Opex Analytics

If you do any research on the application of analytics within companies you will quickly come across articles discussing how companies like Harrah’s (casinos), Capital One, and Google claim to use data to test almost every new business idea that comes across the table. That is, they don’t let the most powerful person in the room make a decision based on opinion– they rigorously test the ideas with data and pick the one that the data suggests is best. Some even claim they run as many as 15,000-20,000 tests per year! This may seem hard to believe from a feasibility point of view and makes you wonder what they are actually testing.

This Academy session will lift up the hood and show give you some idea on what is being tested and how the tests are being run. We all like to think our ideas or plans are backed up by data. But, the truth is, that we still make many decisions with our intuition leading the way even when it is possible to test the idea with data instead. We will uncover best practices in ‘testing’ ideas by beginning with a review of on-line tests (which are easier) and then show how those lessons can be applied to the physical world as well. We will highlight with real life cases and implementation examples.