I’ve written in the past about organisations setting up test and learn capabilities, and how languages such as Ruby on Rails make this so much easier. Sadly, even with the best will in the world it is not unusual for these internal skunk works outfits to fail. Scott Berkun’s recent post gives a good reason why; they score highly on the Idea Approval Index where the higher the number, the harder the innovation is.
If you are going to be serious about test and learn it is essential to remove barriers to its success, and that means removing bands of bureaucracy and sign-off. Identify the number of approvals you assume will be required then plan how to eliminate them. What strategies can you put in place to keep stakeholders in the loop, but at a distance so they can’t kill the innovation before it’s given oxygen to breathe. Realise that what is being tested is a “beta” and market it as such. Give clear terms and conditions, use controlled environments (for example testing on staff within the internal network), anything to prevent it being subject to the usual legal / compliance / architectural constraints.