How To Be a Scientist In Your Business and Why It Helps


True confession: I was a scientist.

I say that because that's what I did two degrees in, and my early career was spent in that realm. I wouldn't describe myself that way anymore, but there is one thing about science that suited me perfectly.

I'm very curious. And my curiosity is both eclectic and broad. My innate curiosity has served me very well in business. It can serve you too.

The basis of all science is curiosity. "I wonder what would happen if... " is behind every discovery and exploration.

Business is like the experiments scientists do: you don't know what's going to happen next. You may have evidence from previous experience, or see what someone else has done. But until you try it, you won't know if it will work in your business.

That level of uncertainty can be so uncomfortable!

So let's lighten things up by taking a different approach. An approach that is based in science.

No need to turn in your comfy togs or your business attire in favor of a lab coat. This kind of experimentation can be done without all the scientist trappings.

It's also not at all as grim as the serious scientist in the photo. In fact, experimenting can be fun!


Begin by reframing your choices. Ask, "I wonder what would happen if... ", instead of, "Will this succeed or fail?".

Feels lighter already, doesn't it?

You don't have the weight of failure on you. Rather, you're simply asking a question. The answer, either way, will tell you something important.

All you're doing is conducting an experiment!


Now, ask your question: What would happen if [fill in the blank]?

What would happen if:

I reach out to this new potential customer group?

We add a pop-up on our website?

We create a process for how to handle customer complaints so that they are all addressed in the same way?

Visit the PIVOTAL resources on Creativity

Once you define your question, specify what you're going to observe and how long you'll observe.

Observations are the data that you collect that help you answer your question. These observations can be quantitative, monitoring numbers, like the response to your social media ads, or qualitative, like watching people's reactions when you talk about your core message.

You can have more than one way of collecting data. For example, you may want to track how many people lit up when you talked about a possible new offering, and how many remained neutral, as well as how many signed up.

Whatever you choose, be consistent about how you collect each kind of data.

Now start your experiment, and observe the outcomes.


Once you've conducted your experiment, it's time to analyze your observations, your data.

What are the data showing you? Look for trends. What do they mean? If you're not sure, that is the basis for your next experiment.

Don't be too quick to ignore outliers, those data that aren't what you expected and aren't aligned with the majority.

If you shared an offering idea with 10 of your customers and prospects, and 9 of them remained neutral but one responded with great enthusiasm, you may have identified a subgroup of people who would love that offering.

Your next experiments can involve learning more about this subgroup and whether they constitute a big enough group to make the investment of creating this new offering worthwhile.

Use the data you've gained to inform your decision-making or pose another question.


Here's one more thing about science that will help you in your business:

It's tempting, especially when things aren't working, to change 10 things at once. It's the scattershot approach, with the hope that something will work. Therefore, it's hard to know which one (or more) of the 10 things you changed made the difference.

One of the reasons marketing can be so frustrating is that it's often hard to project whether a marketing effort will work. That's because most marketing has many variables, things that are changeable in a way you can't control.

Instead, minimize the variables. Become more methodical. According to the scientific method, when you're conducting experiments, you only change one thing at a time. That way, when you get a different outcome, it's likely due to that one thing you changed. How clarifying that is!

It's the accumulation of data from multiple experiments that will start to fill in the story. For example, if you see a gradual increase in response over multiple social media ads as you show more videos of you talking, it suggests that people respond to seeing you and your energy.


Doing these experiments doesn't mean you can't be inspired and creative. Science is actually quite creative! Your creative ideas can be tested in one experiment at a time, to see if they have the effect you thought they would. Your creative ideas actually can achieve greater traction, because you know what's behind your success.

Keep experimenting and implementing to find out what works. As you conduct each new experiment, you move closer to clarity, which gives you an opportunity to increase your success.

Business is dynamic, ever changing. So, your experimentation will be ongoing. Using scientific principles can take some of the uncomfortable heat off of you as you experiment and explore.

Your curiosity will take you to some amazing places in your business, and you'll have more impact!

Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at  Photo by Lucas Vasques on Unsplash

William Kamkwamba on building a windmill

William Kamkwamba, from Malawi, is a born inventor. When he was 14, he built an electricity-producing windmill from spare parts and scrap, working from rough plans he found in a library book called Using Energy and modifying them to fit his needs. The windmill he built powers four lights and two radios in his family home.

Onstage, Kamkwamba talked about his invention and shared his dreams: to build a larger windmill to help with irrigation for his entire village, and to go back to school.

Following Kamkwamba's moving talk, there was an outpouring of support for him and his promising work. Members of the TED community got together to help him improve his power system (by incorporating solar energy), and further his education through school and mentorships. Subsequent projects have included clean water, malaria prevention, solar power and lighting for the six homes in his family compound; a deep-water well with a solar-powered pump for clean water; and a drip irrigation system. Kamkwamba himself returned to school, and is now attending the African Leadership Academy, a new pan-African prep school outside Johannesburg, South Africa.


Public Speaking comment from Nathan: William was able to give an engaging and motivational talk without having so much as a high school education. Most people who are inexperienced presenters tend to use the same crutches: default PowerPoint themes, bullet points, notes, few pictures. But not William. Notice the simplicity of his slides. Many of them are full-bleed photographs. He doesn’t use bullet points and he speaks in a natural, conversational tone. Most importantly, his message comes from the heart. Building windmills, and engineering in general, is something that he loves.

The Potential of Change

I have found that in life and in business that if you are unable to adapt to change quickly, things will become very frustrating and you will find yourself lagging behind and eventually, become stagnant and quit. I find myself often reminding people that change is the only constant; and it honestly is a constant that you can count on and oftentimes, you have absolutely no control over when change occurs. So, instead of feeling like a victim of change, let's become masters of it!


The Potential of Change - Are You Watching?

Very rarely will things change suddenly. Most of the time change will start as a gradual process that will begin to gain momentum and eventually, become the new constant until it changes again. You see this in sports, fashion, food, music, cultural norms and in business. There are so many people who hate change and for the most part, if you ask them why, they have very little concrete reasons why. Many people will tell you that it changed suddenly! But, if we are honest with ourselves, we saw it coming a long time ago but chose to ignore it hoping that something would prevent it from happening. Guess what? change still came!

Let's try this next time; let's become more observant, let's keep an eye out for any changes that might be occurring. Whether it is in your department, in your organizational structure, leadership, business model, marketing strategies or staff. Let's decide to get ahead of it so we are not "caught off guard". Change is not a bad thing all the time, it is simply change. Look for it, embrace it and then, do something about it instead of trying to fight it. Being observant to ongoing or shifts in your particular niche' or vertical can mean the difference in becoming an industry leader or a "Johnny come lately". Change can really work to your advantage if you have the proper perspective. You just have to change your perception of change.

The Potential of Change - Change How You See Things

"What if it's a bad thing Dave?" "We do not want to embrace bad things Dave!" And you are absolutely right. But let's focus on the type of changes that pertain to our businesses and how we can change our perception of those changes. There had been many times when I thought changes in things like marketing for instance; inbound market sounded like making "Root beer" flavored potato chips and I don't think that will last long! But the truth of the matter is that inbound marketing is one of the best ways to market if you truly want to scale your business and keep and expand your repeat, loyal customers.

Look, there are so many business owners that try everything that comes down the pike and have very little ROI to show for it; so now, when they see or hear about a "proven" marketing tool, they pass. If you read one of my older articles called "You Can't Stop Marketing", you'll see that you can't do that. Things HAVE CHANGED and we need to learn how to adapt as business owners. So many small business owners are resistant to change and wonder why the own their job (they spend 12 or more hours a day and make very little progress).

There are few successful business owners that truly invest in themselves. Rarely will a small business owner to go to a business workshop, spend thirty to forty-five minutes watching a webinar or become involved in their local Chamber of Commerce. These examples are just a few things that we can do that has the potential to pay huge dividends in our businesses but, they will require you to change. I think that many small business owners believe that if they change, it equates to being wrong and they cannot admit to being wrong! Wow! That is a lot of pressure and pride working there. There is not a perfect person on the face of the earth! We learn from our mistakes (hopefully) and make the needed adjustments. Failure should never be the end, it should never cause you to throw in the towel. Learning from our mistakes and making those needed adjustments can be the difference in achieving success.

The Potential of Change - Change What You Do

Ladies and gentlemen listen, being resistant, adapting, overcoming, taking advantage of and looking for the next big thing to use to your advantage before anyone else does, is all a part of how we perceive change.

I really want you to be the best business owner that you can possibly be and to do that will require you to learn how to use changes to your advantage. I need all of you to be as innovative as you can possibly be. Innovation is the key! We have gone from rooms filled with one computer to desktops, laptops, and even tablets. We have gone from using telegraphs to calling the telephone operator directly, to dialing direct, to cordless, to pagers, to massive mobile phones, to phones that fit in your purse or your pocket.

Innovation is a term that the business sector uses in place of change. Invention, Revolution, Modernization, Improvement, and Advance are synonyms of innovation and each word has an element of change in them. Let's not shrink from change out of fear but be the innovators that move things forward! Let's be the ones that are the front-runners, even how we interact with each other. You realize that competition does not equate enemy. The pie is so big and we can actually benefit from strategic (legal) collaboration from time to time. (That's for another article to come). So, can you change? Can you embrace change and become the master of it? Can you be the innovator that I know you can be? Can you change?

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Steve Jobs on Customer Experience

Video – Teaching Design for Change

Designer Emily Pilloton moved to rural Bertie County, in North Carolina, to engage in a bold experiment of design-led community transformation. She’s teaching a design-build class called Studio H that engages high schoolers’ minds and bodies while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in the state.

Emily Pilloton wrote Design Revolution, a book about 100-plus objects and systems designed to make people’s lives better. In 2010, her design non-profit began an immersive residency in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest and most rural county in the state.




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Build a corporate culture of creativity

Many organizations have experienced change this year and even more are looking to embrace these changes as well as cultivate new ideas instead of maintaining “business as usual.”

Building a corporate culture of creativity as well as accepting new views and opinions will capture the talent, energy and commitment of employees. If you are interested in creating a workplace where new ideas and innovation can flourish, take 3 minutes to watch the inspirational movie "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins."

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We need to reintroduce humanity into the technological realm when it comes to social good

Watch live streaming video from mashable at

Howard Buffet, director of agricultural development at the U.S. Department of Defense and grandson of businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffett, gave a rousing speech at the Mashable & 92Y Social Good Summit. Buffet points out that while burgeoning technology has made it easier for us to do good, it has also created barriers to personal engagement. According to Buffet, we're no longer in need of new tools -- we're in need of the will to act.

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… the primary engine of creativity and innovation

"...conflict is the primary engine of creativity and innovation. People don't learn by staring into a mirror; people learn by encountering difference."

-- Ronald Heifetz

What’s the Big Idea?

Thinking Tactics for the Up and Coming Innovators of the Next Generation

There are so many ways to get your company or group thinking in an innovative and creative way. There are synergies which can be garnered from groups, even if no one in the group is actually a creative genius. Of course, if you round up quite a few intellectuals, and creative folks, and put them in the same room working together it's amazing what you can come up with and sometimes it only takes a few people to really make a major breakthrough in industry.

Now then, let me give you a few tips and tactics right off the top of my head which will help your organization harness the power of this next generation, and get them working in a synergistic fashion to propel innovation. Below are of some of the things you should be considering;

1. Mix and Match Thinking Styles:

The other day, I was discussing a new design for a fairly cool little gizmo which has endless applications with an engineer and semi-scientist. He indicated that our minds worked differently. We did come up with at least one decent modification to his design which would allow for more versatility for various scalable applications. That's a good thing.

2. Don't Underestimate Your Brain Power:

Just because you think that you are not so good at math, design, sketching, art, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, intense study, marketing, writing, or pitching your new concept doesn't mean you have adequately sized up your abilities. Sometimes when you are quite focused you can do all sorts of things and find talents you never thought you had.

3. When Brain Storming There Are No Bad Ideas:

Oh sure, there are bad idea, disastrous ones in fact, but you have to set that aside when brain storming. Just as you need to suspend your belief system when watching a Sci Fi movie for instance. Let your mind go, let the minds of your team go, and don't correct or nix anyone's idea, or be afraid of your own during brain storming. Let it go, and go for it. There will be plenty of time later to evaluate and discard silly ideas, and even all have a laugh about them - together.

4. Make a To Do List to Research:

No one is an expert in everything, except for you of course. It is okay to realize this and make lists of things you need to check; facts and figures. After you're done brainstorming, or before you take anyone's word as gospel, it makes sense to check your facts. Even brilliant people can sometimes be a little off on their facts and figures, and that doesn't mean they're stupid, or they don't know what they're talking about, it's just that sometimes even brilliant people make small mistakes.

5. Don't Be Too Hard on This Next Generation:

This new generation has been taught using a different perspective and teaching method. Much of what they have done comes from group think. Therefore, they are very good at it. Often entrepreneurs, and successful individuals are not into group think, and many of them are creative geniuses, and can't stand it. That doesn't mean it won't work, or that these up-and-coming innovators can't help your organization with creativity and design. They can, and they often do.

It is my hope that you will please consider these five points, and think on it. Consider it from a philosophical perspective, and work these ideas into what you are currently doing. You may find yourself in the midst of something incredible which could revolutionize your industry, or change the forward progression of mankind.

Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 24,444 articles by September 4th at 4:44 PM will be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..