Just like design thinking practices, lean startup methodology is a guiding principle at Health for America. In order to understand how we put this into practice, we participated in Lean Startup Machine last weekend. Since you couldn’t all join us, here is a crash course on lean startups.
A "lean startup" is built and managed utilizing a scientific approach which aims to get a product into the hands of customers as fast as possible and using minimal resources.
Based on lean manufacturing methods, the goal of a lean startup is to "minimize the total time through the loop." Rapid scientific experimentation allows startups to see if customers want the product or solution being built. If not, the startup needs to pivot or adjust in course — quickly, to ensure no time is wasted building an unneeded service or product.
The lean startup methodology, developed by Eric Reis, has five key principles which are echoed by nearly all other lean startup materials.
Entrepreneurs are Everywhere | Anyone dedicated to “creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty is an entrepreneur”
Entrepreneurship is Management | Startups require a new kind of management — one that is just as rigid as those utilized by established institution
Validation is Learning | Teams learn from experiments which validate customer and product assumptions — more experiments means more learning
Innovation Needs Accounting | Entrepreneurs must focus on the "boring" stuff — milestones, measures, and prioritization; without metrics you cannot communicate your impact
Startups Build, Measure, and Learn | Successful organizations build a product quickly, measure customer response, and learn what needs to change — then rinse and repeat
If you are interested in learning more, check out theleanstartup.com or read Eric Reis’ book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Business.
Quotes in this article are pulled from Eric Reis’ website theleanstartup.com or from his book by the same name.