To explain the importance of sharing intermediate ideas in the innovation process, Ivan Gavriloff uses the metaphor of ants and the honeypot. For the purpose of experimentation, researchers starve some ants for 48 hours. Then they set up a pot of honey at the end of a bridge. Driven by hunger, the ants venture out. Since they navigate by odor trails left by previous ants, a loop emerges and grows with each new journey. Eventually, there is a Eureka moment when an ant reaches and touches the honeypot – it’s that last tiny step that is the scientific discovery; the innovation.

The first stage in the innovation process is to be creative. Once you have an idea, the best option is to experiment with it. The resulting test can only have a positive outcome, since if the idea doesn’t work, the test allows you to find out why it doesn’t work. You must then adjust the experiment, gradually working towards successful deployment of the innovation.

For example, before flooding the market, Post-it conducted an experiment by distributing its little self-adhesive colored notes free of charge within a defined test region. Three weeks later, when they asked people: «Would you like any more?», the answer was a unanimous «Yes» . When deploying an innovation, experimentation works much better than simply presuming that a market exists.