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Books: Even Accountants Benefit from Experiments

By Alex Blyakhman, CMA, CSCA
September 1, 2022

Learning the ins and outs of experimentation and applying takeaways to your role can give your career—and company—a boost.

 

Sefan H. Thomke’s Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments provides a practical, future-proof blueprint for driving business innovation via the scientific management method and creative problem solving. It’s filled with fascinating, real-world examples from recognizable household brands. Harnessing various skills to execute successful business experiments will help finance professionals position themselves for future success in their career.

 

 

Thomke is a renowned authority on innovation management. His research is often cited by other experts in the field, and he’s been able to help global business leaders advance their organizations utilizing the scientifically backed approach of large-scale experimentation. Thomke outlines best practices, presenting examples of breakthroughs achieved and competitive advantages gained by organizations at the forefront of experimentation.

 

Most effective business models for sustainable growth typically involve innovation and ingenuity. Thomke argues that, given that even the most experienced and knowledgeable leaders are wrong more often than they’re willing to admit, a recipe for success is running rigorous experiments providing decision makers with unbiased, data-informed answers. He writes, “The rationale behind experimentation is the pursuit of knowledge about cause and effect; all experiments yield information through understanding what does, and does not, work.” According to Thomke, as the fields of AI, machine learning, and neural networks advance, professionals skilled in the science and art of experimentation will benefit, and this practice will be required for the survival of many businesses.

 

Thomke does a brilliant job defining scientific jargon and concepts in an easy-to-follow, conversational manner. Mastering these terms alone makes this book a worthwhile read. He dissects copious examples of successful business experimentation undertaken by companies of varying sizes across a spectrum of industries. These revealing use cases provide an inside view of experimentation based on the scientific method, taking us from formulating a testable hypothesis to forming a causal link addressing a business question.

 

Businesses with a culture of experimentation are more likely to survive the test of time. If you want to master proven lessons of business experimentation, understand the value of small change, study the iterative nature of failures, build a testing infrastructure, define relevant metrics, and link strategy and data analytics, you need to read this book.

 

Alex Blyakhman, CMA, CSCA, CIA, PMP, CBIP, CSM, is founder of Excel Strategies, LLC. He's also a member of IMA's Technology Solutions and Practices Committee, the IMA Research Foundation, and IMA's Chicago Chapter. You can reach him at alex@excelstrategiesllc.com.
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