The build-measure-learn feedback cycle has always been a great way to execute innovation initiatives successfully.

But how exactly does it do this? What are the benefits of using it?

In this article, let’s talk about the build-measure-learn feedback cycle and its utmost significance in innovation. Let’s get started.

What is the build-measure-learn feedback cycle?

Here’s how we define the build-measure-learn feedback cycle:

Its objective is to transform unknowns, preconceptions, and uncertainties into knowledge and solid facts that could ultimately drive businesses and organizations forward.

Through this strategy, the important unknown aspects may be converted into information that the organization can use in its product development and overall business activities. This entire technique can also be referred to as an experiment.

The build-measure-learn cycle is a methodology for swiftly and cost-effectively establishing and continually improving the success of new products, services, and ideas.

In essence, the concept entails a loop of developing and testing ideas by developing something small for potential consumers to experience — with the goal of assessing their responses and feedback.

It also serves as a learning tool for teams to understand an idea’s possible outcomes. The goal is to constantly enhance a product, service, or idea so it could provide exactly what the target audience demands.

What does the build-measure-learn feedback cycle have to do with innovation?

The build-measure-learn cycle is an iterative tool that touches many aspects of the innovation process.

1. Ideation

The first part of the cycle involves defining the idea that you want to test and the information that you need to learn.

You also need to develop a hypothesis of what you think will happen in the experimentation phase.

It could also focus on anything from product features and customer service ideas to finding the best pricing strategies and distribution channels.

2. Experimentation

The cycle also involves testing the ideas, assumptions, and hypotheses you’ve made in the first phase.

You can use this time to prove or disprove any theories you have or test different situations that can potentially improve your initial concept.

When conducting experiments, it would be better for innovation teams to start small. Make your experiment small enough for easier and cheaper testing. This will save expenses while accelerating the product development process.

3. Selecting key performance indicators

While organizing the experiment, you must understand how success will be measured in order to include all of the required pieces in the construct.

Organizations must discover appropriate measures to evaluate certain elements of innovation.

Choosing the correct metrics all comes down to determining what you want to achieve and carefully reviewing your activities to ensure that they support your goals.

These measures are known as key performance indicators or KPIs.

4. Making MVPs or minimum viable products

The build-measure-learn feedback loop not only determines the issue that needs solutions.

It also includes the creation of a minimal viable product (MVP) to start the learning experience as soon as necessary.

Once the MVP is built, a startup may focus on improving the product. This will entail measurement and learning, as well as actionable metrics that may illustrate the cause and effect concern.

Why is the build-measure-learn feedback cycle important?

The build-measure-learn feedback cycle is important for five reasons:

1. Establishing confidence in business ideas

Because of how the cycle works, this loop provides a way for determining what works and what doesn’t.

It serves as a systematic approach that observes orderly methods of pursuing product development initiatives, which leads to innovation teams deciding whether to pursue the initial concept further or discard it completely.

As a result, entrepreneurs gain a certain level of confidence in their business ideas as they pass the initial tests that examine their viability and feasibility.

2. Effective use of resources

Since the build-measure-learn is a cycle that focuses on the significance of feedback, this concept allows businesses to utilize and distribute their resources more effectively and efficiently.

This function is so vital knowing how resources are both limited and valuable for every organization.

Time, money, and effort may significantly be decreased since they can test the product and determine if it is feasible before putting additional time, effort, and money into it.

3. Getting rid of doubts and uncertainties

It’s common to have doubts and uncertainties about ideas at the start of the invention process.

Businesses, however, may build order in constantly testing concepts for better output by using a specific strategy that follows a step-by-step procedure.

The build-measure-learn feedback cycle’s main concept goes beyond failing and learning fast and inexpensively. It is also a method of cementing ideas that rely on user feedback. It is a cycle that removes aspects that do not contribute to the overall success of the project.

4. Gaining project knowledge

Because the build-measure-learn is an iterative cycle, it enhances the initial form of your idea. As such, when you go through the process of correcting and improving your innovation project, you also go through understanding it more and gaining more knowledge about it.

As a result, you would understand how to market it more or implement it in such a way that it corresponds to the needs and demands of your target audience.

This sort of input is critical for determining the efficacy of the overall ad project as well as other financial requirements such as where the advertising should be placed, how the media purchase should be spent, and whether the testing is limited to one variant or the full campaign.

While numerous pre-testing frameworks are available, businesses may frequently collaborate with market research organizations to build their idea research around ad effectiveness, memory, engagement, and predicted purchase behavior among their target consumers.

Market research services may even aid you with your pre-testing by identifying your target personas and demonstrating how to target them using various segmentation approaches.

5. Quick and validated learning

Manufacturing progress is assessed by the creation of high-quality commodities. Validated learning, a rigorous way for showing progress while one is entrenched in the phase of severe uncertainty, is the unit of progress for lean startups.

When entrepreneurs accept validated learning, the development process may be significantly shortened.

Once you focus on finding out what to build— on what consumers want and will pay for — you won’t have to wait months for a product beta launch to shift the company’s direction.

Entrepreneurs might instead adjust their strategies progressively, slowly but surely.

How to use the build-measure-learn feedback cycle

Using the build-measure-learn feedback cycle means going through four stages:

1. Plan

The cycle may be named “build-measure-learn.” But that doesn’t mean it only has three steps to it. Because just like every other activity in the company, everything begins with proper planning.

Acting on your idea right away and subjecting it to immediate testing might lead to a waste of effort, time, and other resources, which could throw your whole innovation process off the schedule.

You can begin by establishing the concept you want to test instead.

  • What are the materials that you need to acquire for it?
  • What data are you planning to extract?
  • What theories are you trying to prove or discard?

These are only some of the things that you need to ask yourself and the rest of your team before you can build the entire thing out. Define these missing details first and create a hypothesis of what you think will take place with the experiments that you’ll have later.

Think and plan about everything from product features and customer service concepts to the optimal pricing methods and distribution channels. Anticipate risks ahead of time and prepare for them. Also, set performance indicators for measurement purposes.

See what situations could improve the entire product development phase and the entire innovation process.

2. Build

Now that you’ve planned everything out, it’s time to build or develop a minimum viable product, or the absolute, minimum version of your idea that can be developed for testing purposes as rapidly as necessary.

Make sure that you’ve already identified what problem you need to solve upon the creation of your MVP. However, before anything else, don’t forget to do the following steps:

Structure the experiment

  • Plan every detail. Determine the flow for smooth-sailing testing of ideas.
  • Identify how every aspect of the experiment will integrate with one another.
  • Ensure a robust and trustworthy way of collecting data to guarantee credible and relevant output.

Create the experiment

  • Keep everything plain and simple. It might be tempting to start out huge and intricate. However, avoid doing this as it may feel overwhelming and difficult to sustain in the long run.
  • That being said, it is advisable to create the lowest feasible addition that will still be sufficient for you to confirm or reject your prior hypothesis.

Carry out the experiment

  • Collect the data necessary by conducting interviews or sending questionnaires to selected participants.
  • Distribute a prototype intended for testing and acquiring initial feedback.
  • Run unit and usability tests, or any equivalent.

3. Measure

This is the stage at which client comments and reactions are gathered. This information may be utilized to study, examine, and understand the product concept as well as its pragmatic execution.

The most useful data identifies flaws, issues, and inefficiencies that lead to chances for change and improvement. The extent of this data is potentially infinite. Make use of the appropriate performance indicators to measure results.

To make this portion of the loop as brief as possible, data parameters should be specified and set prior to market launch. The company must determine which client reactions are significant and how to interpret them.

This information may then be utilized to develop findings and recommendations during the learning phase.

4. Learn

At this point, you’ll be able to make sensible, empirical judgments on your last few steps. Based on the information you’ve gathered, you can either persist, try a different approach, or make adjustments while still pursuing the initial idea you’ve had.

If the data you’ve gathered supports your idea, you can choose to continue the same path and iteratively develop to perfect your concept.

Although at times, even if your concept has had initial success, you still need to prepare as your next iterations may not pass the experiments you’ve built.

So when the time comes that the experiment’s outcomes do not coincide with your project, remember that you have still learned a lot about what doesn’t work for your concept at this time.

Try taking your resources, team insights, and other factors into consideration the moment you decide to either reset, adjust, or try a different approach in resuming the loop.

How to apply the build-measure-learn feedback cycle to your business

Remember that innovation is not limited to the creation of products and services.

By definition, it can also include executing ideas and processes that may be new to the company or to your customers.

It can mean a venture into uncertainties, so there are times when there’d be no precedents to guide you out. However, the build-measure-learn feedback cycle addresses this aspect in manageable chunks that you can use to quickly test your ideas out.

This gives you the assurance that you need in diving into the unknown with explicit objectives, precise hypotheses, targeted testing, evaluated responses.

Begin executing your ideas today. Refer to our innovation ebook here and transform your company into an effective innovation engine now.