The Resonance Test 58: Stefan Thomke


“Experimentation Is the Engine that Drives Innovation. If You’re Not Experimenting, You’re Not Innovating.”

The Resonance Test 59: Stefan Thomke

January 14, 2021
by Chris MichaudKen Gordon
Stefan Thomke 2014c

A bad experiment, says HBS professor Stefan Thomke, is one “where you learn nothing.” Thomke, the author of the recent volume Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments and our guest on The Resonance Test, should know. He's a thoughtful advocate of the methodical and effective testing of ideas. Thomke’s conversion with our Chris Michaud educated us on the many challenges of building an experimental culture and what leadership requires here. Experimentation is not easy. “Human nature gets in the way,” Thomke says. “We tend to happily accept good results, which are confirming our biases.” But when confronted by a “bad” result, he notes, “we challenge and thoroughly investigate it.” In Experimentation Works, we learn about the newly arrived CEO who arrived and presented a logo to his staff. They responded: “That’s great; we’ll check it with an experiment.” Thomke also reminds us that building such a strong experimental culture can’t be done on the cheap. “CEOs get really excited about innovation and they tell everybody to be innovative but there are no budgets available,” says Thomke, adding: “You gotta put some serious resources into these kinds of things.” Invest in the next episode of the podcast and get smarter about your experiments.

Host: Kenj Ross
Editor: Kyp Pilalas
Producer: Ken Gordon

The Resonance Test 59: Stefan Thomke
filed in: innovation

About the Author

  • Michaud Chris
    Chris Michaud
    Head of EPAM Continuum

    Chris leads EPAM Continuum, focusing externally on how the world, the market, and our clients’ needs are evolving. He collaborates closely with clients to devise a plan for how human-centered design and innovation can help them succeed. Bringing a keen understanding of the challenges businesses face, he’s focused on bridging the innovation gap between business strategy and stunning design execution.

    With more than 10 years at EPAM Continuum, Chris has collaborated with industry-leading clients including American Express, Covidien, Intercontential, Ford, L.L. Bean, Nestle, P&G, Samsung, and Unilever.

    Prior to joining EPAM Continuum, Chris worked at GE, where he completed their Technical Leadership Program. Chris holds a degree with high distinction in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

  • Ken Gordon
    Ken Gordon
    Chief Communications Specialist

    Ken makes EPAM Continuum’s work visible to the necessary people. He creates superlative content, works with colleagues to do the same, and employs social networks to share it widely.

    A card-carrying humanist, Ken co-founded QuickMuse, the improvisational writing website, and JEDLAB, the Jewish education community. He has written for, the New York Times, and many other pubs.

    Ken has an English degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MA in English from the State University of New York at Albany. He framed both diplomas long ago, but can’t seem to find them now—a fact he considers all-too-human.