At IDEO, one frequently hears the adage, “Fail often to succeed sooner.”
Test parts or the whole of an idea before you scale up. Focus on experiments which reduce the risk and uncertainty of the idea; produce weak or strong evidence that supports or refutes a hypothesis and are fast/slow and cheap/expensive to conduct.
A key element of experimentation is translating an assumption into different hypotheses, defining success criteria and designing a bias-free experiment. From the Experiment Method Cards (there's also a cheat sheet) select the experiments best suited for the assumption/s you want to test and objectives you wish to achieve.
The Key is to get test users to behave and use the product / service as they would in real life. BUT remember you are testing a concept or prototype NOT the user.
A Falsifiable Hypothesis is stated with good precision, such that it can be tested, by standard rules of logic and empirical, statistical evidence so as to be confirmed or disconfirmed.
Use the Quick Reference Guide or the Experiment Method Cards to select experiments that Test your Assumptions.
Collect feedback through observation, follow up with questions.
Analyse the results on what worked well and what is causing problems.
Experiment in the solutions natural setting and when the desired outcomes are well defined and measurable.
The objective is not to simply create a mock-up or scale model of your solution, but to create an experience through which users can observe, use and react to it.
Selection of the experiment can be predominantly driven by the assumptions that you wish to validate.