Exercise: An Outcome Hypothesis

This exercise helps you to understand how to measure and continually improve value.

The value associated with unique change is best articulated as outcome hypotheses (also known as Objectives and Key Results or OKRs). This creates a clear expectation that it is a hypothesis and may be invalid, and that there are unknown-unknowns that will only be uncovered when the work takes place. It also creates a clear expectation that experimentation is required, with people empowered to discover how to best achieve the outcome, or even if the outcome hypothesis is worth pursuing.

You can write an outcome hypothesis like this:

  • Due to < this insight >
  • We believe that < this capability >
  • Will result in < this outcome >

We will know that we’re on the right track when:

  • Measure 1: quantified and measurable leading or lagging indicator
  • Measure 2:
  • Measure 3:

To get started

To aid the writing of your first business outcome, use the canvas below. On a whiteboard draw out and label the 4 sectors with the circle in the middle. Start with the customer and identify what behaviour change you are seeking to influence. Then move to the problem statement to be clear on what you are optimising for. This will enable you to frame up the outcome hypothesis.

If you are struggling to write the outcome hypothesis, quite often it is because the customer, behaviour change and/or problem isn’t clear. Suggest you continue to explore these before you progress.

For more help, please go to: Outcome hypotheses – A primer | Sooner Safer Happier


Writing really good outcome hypotheses is not easy. It will take some time to get better at this – it is a muscle that needs to be built!