INSEAD Randomized Controlled Trials Lab, the research center of INSEAD focusing on research grounded in data evidence from experiments

Imagine that you, as senior decision maker, are facing the challenge to make an important decision whether to implement a new HR policy, a new training program, a new initiative to change behaviors, or a new marketing campaign in your organization. How would you make this decision? You could use your judgement which is based on your experience and gut feeling, but the risk of biases could lead to suboptimal outcomes. Alternatively (or additionally), you could ground your decision in data evidence generated through rigorous experiments – just like in medical or pharmaceutical research. The advantage of experimentation for decision making is that the impact of different choices can be systematically evaluated on a small scale before the change is rolled-out organization-wide.

In the past, grounding important decisions in rigorous data evidence from experiments was very difficult to impossible, because the collection of data and the implementation of experiments were very labor intense, and thus costly.  Today, driven by the digital transformation, many types of different data are abundantly available at very low cost, and platforms and system exist that drastically simplify the implementation of such experiments, and thus, reduce costs.  Therefore, the digital transformation creates novel opportunities for senior decision makers: It is now possible, and it is likely to become the norm in the future, to ground important decisions in rigorous data evidence from randomized controlled trials in field settings.

To be at the forefront of this trend, INSEAD has developed the capability to run randomized field experiments in digital environments.  The RCT Lab is leading this effort and currently enabling and supporting randomized controlled trials in digital settings as diverse as Facebook, Mechanical Turk, a Taxi Booking App, an Online Patient Community, or complex Online Surveys.

Mission of the RCT Lab

The mission of the RCT Lab is to promote academic research at INSEAD on the drivers for productivity, growth and competitiveness of firms using randomized field experiments in field settings and to translate research findings into evidence-based management and policy recommendations. The RCT Lab provides an important channel through which INSEAD as a business school can help promote economic development and overall prosperity.

The RCT Lab provides support to INSEAD Faculty and PhD students who are interested to use randomized field experiments in field settings. Core activities include:

  1. Capacity development: The RCT Lab serves as a repository of knowledge and information and organizes events such as research and training workshops and conferences around RCTs in field settings.
  2. Funding: The RCT Lab provides seed funding to INSEAD Faculty to enable RCT projects and supports them to gain access to external funding sources.
  3. Access to research sites: The RCT Lab facilitates connections between INSEAD Faculty and firms/organizations to run RCTs in field settings (see also our Call to Host an Experiment).

More information about the RCT Lab is available here: