Starting lean is not about the finished product, rather getting a MVP(Minimal Viable Product) through a process. Testing, interviewing, re testing and pivoting where need be.
We are not looking to put the most pristine product on the park from day one. Too many calories will be burnt sweating over this. We don’t know what our customers want. We need to ask them first!
There is one thing having an idea and there is another having customers that want to use or purchase our idea. Yes, there are things that we as consumers do not know we need or want yet. This could be the next Facebook(not that we need it), however this will be a rare scenario.
In the infant stages of either or, we want to gather as much feedback as possible, tinker, tweak, tweak again to get it right. If we reach our MVP and it is not wanted, then we can move on without exhausting all of our time and money.
An excerpt on FastCompany from Eric Ries, author of renowned book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses.
“There’s a whole industry devoted to promulgating the myth that all an entrepreneur needs is perseverance, creative genius, and hard work. Ries learned the hard way this isn’t true. A few years later he joined another startup as chief technology officer, broke many tenets of business–they released a minimum viable product that was “terrible, full of bugs, crash-your-computer-yes-really stability problems,” which they charged for–and the result was IMVU, a social network that today has 40 million users who don avatars to interact in a virtual world and grosses almost $40 million in revenue.”
By default or not. This is where we learn. Get a minimal product to early adopters to slander it to bits so we can fix it, develop and tailor.
“Along the way he created a methodology for lean startups and in the book he tells it like it is. No, the vast majority of would-be entrepreneurs won’t morph into the incarnation of Mark Zuckerberg. Unlike in the 2010 movie The Social Network, if you launch a startup you will probably fail and often be miserable doing it, but if you learn from your mistakes and absorb his advice … you’ll still probably fail, but your odds of success dramatically increase.”
Silicon Valley has adopted this process for some time, in the tech startup world.
We can now see its relevance for new product or service launches inside corporations, government, NFP’s, SME’s or as a start up on its own. The same principles apply. My colleague whom writes at Humanomics, puts it avidly here on the lean start ups adaptability, Lean Start-up in the Government.
One important aspect of that is the approach to new things. This is where entrepreneurship and innovation is key for government. If we are serious about social innovation, we need to be serious about this. This is the big case for why a new approach.
The lean start up model pioneered by Steve Blank and Eric Ries is fundamental to the way entrepreneurship is now around the world. In my work in social innovation, lean start up principles have played a big role in changing the way work is done and in essence creating better outcomes. This is the big case for why using this methodology to make this happen.
If we don’t know the answers to the barriers we face, best go to the source and get them. Talk to our potential market place about our assumptions and test. Anything else is guesswork. In affect, we can align methodologies used in Growth Hacking here also.
Work in our development stage strategically to solve uncertainty with the least pain as possible.
Start quick, fail fast. Go through the process(es) cost effective until we reach a finished product.