06 May 2012

Lean Startup

A very good friend keeps telling me that great ideas are 10 a penny. An evening at any inventors' club anywhere in the kingdom seems to prove the point.  Britain is buzzing with inventive talent.   What is much harder to find is great execution.  Many (indeed most) of those great ideas never see the light of day.   Indeed, most of the patents on the register have never been worked.

A possible solution to the problem of getting great ideas to market may be the lean startup methodology. It is a principle developed by entrepreneur and author Eric Ries in his book "The Lean Startup". It is summarized in the following proposition:
"The Lean Startup provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and get a desired product to customers' hands faster. The Lean Startup method teaches you how to drive a startup-how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development."
The basic concept is the "minimal viable product" which is represented by the circle set out above. An idea for a new product or service is tested by building one that has just the features that enable it to be deployed and no more. Market reaction is measured and considered and the product is either refined or abandoned.

Publisher and visionary Tim O'Reilly suggested that it is an approach that can be applied to many things other than business:
"The Lean Startup isn't just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business...it's about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world's great problems. It's ultimately an answer to the question 'How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn't?"
In other words how to use time effectively.

Ries's book has given rise to a worldwide movement of lean startup enthusiasts. A group has existed in London for some time.  There is now a group in Manchester which will meet on Bank Holiday Monday at the Business School at 18:00. I will be there and am looking forward to meeting other members of the group.

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