5 Simple Ways to Use Lean Startup within the Corporation

by | Nov 26, 2014

Many of you will have read Eric Ries' book The Lean Startup. You will also probably be seeing articles on how the methodology is starting to be used within the corporation. Why? Because as more and more traditional businesses are being disrupted, there needs to be tools people can get their hands on to protect themselves against disruption and, to disrupt.

Here are five simple and practical tools to kick off using the Lean Startup approach in your organisation.

1. Challenge The Traditional. One of the opportunities of using the Lean Startup approach is to challenge the status quo - because it is all about doing, rather than Powerpointing! When people in a meeting bring out the traditional view - before kicking off a project, we need 3 months of meeting, 20 Powerpoint decks, and 5 business models, stop the meeting and throw in the concept of an MVP - the minimal viable product (MVP). Why do we need all of these Powerpoints and spreadsheets? How about we build an MVP, take it to some customers, and say "What do you think?". Most organisations are really scared to do this... What about our brand? What if it doesn't work? So - push the point. It is amazing how people will sit back, listen, and often get behind you in the "new" way of thinking.

2. Get Out of the Building. I find it amazing how many organisations still feel that if you are not at your desk, you are not working. Wow! Why do you want to be at your desk, sitting in front of a screen?? Get out of the building. Go see some customers. Go talk to some stakeholders. Go and observe what your customers are doing. Go and get some ideas to bring into the organisation that will probably be 100% better than the ideas being incubated in the building.An empty office is probably a great sign of innovation. Think about it!

3. Measure. You know the saying. What gets measured gets done. So measure, measure and measure. Implement A/B testing and measure. A/B testing is not just the domain of the internet world - take two possible solutions, put them in the market and .... measure! You will be amazed what you can learn from the measurements.

4. Build a New Culture. Yes, you can create a new culture within your organisation. It's a challenge, but you can do it. If you are not sure how to bring people along for the journey, have a read of John Kotter's book "My Iceberg is Melting". You can read it in an hour - it's a great read about effecting change on an iceberg...like an organisation that does not realise its world is about to crumble and implode.  The old culture won't get you there - but creating a Lean Startup model within your organisation is certainly a step in the direction of being the disruptor, rather than being disrupted.

5. Be Prepared to Fail. Fail? We can't fail, you might say. Sure you can, if the culture is right. And if failure is not tolerated in your organisation, see point four above! There is a huge amount of literature around on how tolerating failure is an essential ingredient of innovation. Or put differently, if failure is not tolerated, innovation just will not happen.

The corporation as we know it is undergoing massive change. The Lean Startup mentality is the right one to immerse yourself in because, guess what? The startups circling around your business are using just that. So either join the club, or risk being disrupted and being put out of business.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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