This sounds like the perfect topic if you are creating a new company; and, it is. Yet, why are people in Fortune 500 companies reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries? Because it can help any team become innovative in a search for new business models, or ways to tweak current product and service solutions to meet customer needs. As Eric puts it,
“a startup is a human institution designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.”
This is what we attempt to do as we work to commercialize innovations.
While I have only begun to read the book, I located another educational resource I have begun to enjoy promoting the same basic concepts: The How to Build a Startup course at UDACITY.
Of course, this is a great course if you are building a startup. Yet, the lessons can be applied equally well to any business context where you are innovatively trying to improve your business by learning and evolving to meet your customer wants and needs. It introduces you to a process where you can iteratively learn to experiment and then talk to your customers to find out what they really want, and how you can provide it.
Over time, you learn to question your assumptions, not with shame, but methodically, in a way where you can outright plan to be wrong by choosing a rewarding path that helps you become right about the products or services you are trying to deliver, and how best to deliver them.
The instructor is Steve Blank, whom UDACITY describes as
“a seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Translation: he has failed and–more often–succeeded, in a 21-year career building 8 Valley startups, including several with major IPO’s.”
I’ve completed the first 3 of 9 lessons. I look forward to putting assumptions and, going forward, learnings, on a Business Model Canvas, the tool at the center of Steve’s methodology for searching for the right business model to succeed.