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12 Examples of a Pilot

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A pilot is an experimental or trial program that is designed to determine if a strategy is likely to be successful. The following are illustrative examples.

Pilot Episode

A single episode of a television series designed to sell the idea and test its popularity with viewers.

Back Door Pilot

Introducing characters or ideas for a new television show in an episode of an existing a television series.


A demo is a short pilot of media such as a movie, television show or music. A demo for a film might run about 5 minutes.

Unintentional Pilot

An activity that is meant to be limited in scope but is expanded due to popularity. For example, a short story that becomes a novel or series.

Pilot Plant

A small industrial system designed to test ideas for a manufacturing facility.

Dry Run

A rehearsal or simulation that is executed under safe conditions. For example, a rocket engine may be tested on the ground before use in a launch.


Building a preliminary model of a product, service, interface or technology to test or evaluate it.

Pilot Study

A small scale study designed to validate a model for research that's more expansive in scope. For example, researchers require a study of at least 1,000 participants to validate a new therapeutic method. They start with 20 participants to validate the approach.

Pilot Program

Launching a process or system on a limited basis to evaluate its impact. For example, a nation pilots a system that allows certain people to renew their passport online.

Test Marketing

Putting new products and services in front of customers to gather feedback. For example, a restaurant with 100 locations may launch a new menu item at a single location to gather feedback.

Proof of Concept

An activity designed to validate a conceptual idea such as an identity for a new brand.

Proof of Principle

An activity designed to validate a concrete theory such as a new method of spacecraft propulsion.
Overview: Pilot
An experimental or trial program that is designed to determine if a strategy is likely to be successful.
Reducing risks and costs
Allowing a large number of ideas to be tested.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about innovation.
Business Models
Concept Testing
Cost Innovation
Crash Of Ineptitude
Design Thinking
Discontinuous Change
First Principles
Innovation Risk
Inventive Step
Latent Demand
Market Fit
Naive Innovation
Prior Art
Proof Of Concept
Speculative Design
Systems Thinking
Technology Winter
Throwaway Prototype
Trough Of Sorrow
Value Creation
More ...
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