Sunday, October 30, 2011

‘Lean startups’ can happen anywhere

Lean Startups and the entrepreneurial energy that fuel them, aren’t just limited to lone visionaries in garages or spare bedrooms.

In today’s hyper-competitive global economy, large organisations need to have startups under their roofs to survive and thrive.

A couple of decades back, some visionaries were floating the idea of “intrapreneurs,” motivated innovators within organisations that pull together ideas and resources to make new things happen.

In his latest book, Eric Ries, creator of the Lean Startup methodology, builds upon this idea, and outlines the 5 key principles that should make up the foundation of any lean startup effort and, tellingly, the key takeaway is that startups can happen anywhere, at anytime:

1. Entrepreneurs are everywhere. Ries argues that startups are everywhere, which he defines as an “institution designed to create new products and services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” Groups of people working within Fortune 500 corporations or large government agencies, could meet the definition of a “startup.”

2. Entrepreneurship is management. Ries argues that “entrepreneur” should be a job title in all companies, regardless of ages and sizes.

3. Validated learning. The main purpose of a startup is to learn about customer needs. Run frequent experiments to see what ideas stick, and more importantly, which do not.

4. Build-measure-learn. A successful startup needs to operate within a continuous feedback loop. This loop consists of turning ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and “learn whether to pivot or persevere.”

5. Innovation accounting. Startup leaders still need to focus on the “boring stuff.” : measurement, milestones, and prioritisation of work. “This requires a new type of accounting for startups, and the people who hold them accountable.”

While startups may seem chaotic and more driven by passion than management, sensible and accountable management is still needed but the bottom line is that it can and will happen anywhere and everywhere.

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