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8 reasons why we might delay announcement of a trial


  1. Announcing a trial could bias results because participants may alter their behavior knowing they are being observed, affecting the trial's outcome.
  2. Results might be skewed by atypical usage patterns during the trial, such as increased demand in specific areas, which may not reflect typical usage in a scaled version.
  3. Participants may intentionally try to influence the results, such as by avoiding or exaggerating certain behaviours, which could distort the trial's findings.
  4. Publicising the trial could lead to intentional damage or misuse of the prototype, potentially compromising its durability and not reflecting its performance under normal conditions.
  5. Delaying the announcement allows for iteration before public discussion, ensuring that the more mature versions are what users primarily remember and discuss, rather than an earlier prototype.
  6. Starting with a small user group and gradually increasing trial participants allows for easier adjustments and learning opportunities. Announcing a trial widely from the outset can hinder this approach, as it can be harder to make changes once a large number of users are involved.
  7. Widely publicising a trial can lead to the need to allocate time for responding to media inquiries, which can be unproductive as it detracts from developing further trials and may not contribute significantly to additional learnings for the current trial. Typically, broader media awareness is more beneficial either towards the end of a trial, if feedback from a wider audience is needed, or after the trial when the assessment report is available.
  8. Trials inherently involve uncertainty. Depending on the nature of the trial, it may be prudent to start with a very small number of initial users and gradually increase this number as learnings accrue. This approach is particularly relevant in trials which have health and safety aspects that require consideration.




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