I found this blurb the other day though I forget where so sorry can’t credit exactly – just know that though those are not my words. What is interesting about them is they aptly describe the last 18 months of experience I have in the lean startup space. How I got here is well documented in past blogs – but suffice to say it all started with looking for a job. Yes, every problem is a job, but is it a job you want? To know that you first gotta figure out which problem you want to solve. And then, the question is whether that is a job that you want to do! Lean is a good way to figure that out, and to figure out lots of other things as well.
The last 18 months has allowed me to dig really deep into the lean startup space – specifically the principles and techniques conjured by thought leaders Steve Bank and Eric Ries, Ash Maurya, Alexander Osterwalder and some lesser known names but really smart folks none-the-less. I am a long-time supporter of organizational effectiveness techniques – my exposure reaches back to TQM and ISO 9000 – and that only matters when it comes to the hole in the current lean movement.
Here is what you have – youv’e got your books – Eric, Steve x2, Ash x2. Youv’e got your canvas’s – BMC, LeanLaunchLab, Youv’e got your cusdev techniques and case studies with EGCD guys, and you got your startup weekend proper and the iterations LUXr and the like. All BONUS! Love them. Where we are falling short is in the problems we are trying to solve. Unless you get into a good incubator I am not sure that applying lean will push you to build a meaningful company…and then because of that, the jobs that are created may be on the very small scale. I am not the first to notice this, but in noticing, I found that filling that void is something I am passionate about. It really boils down to righting the disconnect between the disruption of work and the innovation of business so that the engine of our economy – our middle class – can find solid footing again. I believe innovation in entrepreneurship is the crux of the solution. And surely that innovation can push past a new monthly subscription site – though, there is NOTHING wrong with that! I just think that space will be “vewy vewy cwowded” ;>)
Having presented, instructed, mentored, advised, organized, signed up for and tested several online “lean helper tools”, having read all the books – really dog eared some pages of each, last year I took on the challenge of updating a curriculum for a national program focused on teaching high school girls application development with agile/lean. As I was preparing the core content of lean – and adding in the BMC piece, I was overwhelmed by the notion of how to get them to do this without being confused and upset. I had all the best tools available and it still felt too hard. It could not feel that hard or the girls would not do it and if they don’t do it they will have lost a really valuable learning opportunity, one that could really change their working-life options in a meaningful way. I was not willing to have that happen (again, past blogs tell that story) so, I dusted off my old org/dev brain and built a workbook. It correlated to their lessons – 10 weeks of them from project management to cusdev to BMC and finally to pitch decks. It is rolling out at 20 + campuses now and we are just beginning to get feedback from those groups.
Also, I began showing it to a few people that lead the lean space and from their feedback I realized this tool would be useful to a broader population. From those just being admitted to “startupschool” and for those who have been here awhile.
Stripped down to bare essentials – Applied Lean™ focuses on the core steps of lean – ideation / problem / solution / market research / cusdev / validation. The process is not linear – and it can take a while to figure out what direction to head in, but once you do – you can execute against the framework and have increased your chances of success by…well, I don’t know the percentage – or when one will be available – but shorter. I am saying shorter and less painful.
The structure of Applied Lean™ supports the application of lean technique so that as you evolve your idea you can more easily recognize the new patterns and opportunities. If you do that as you go along it is so much easier to know what to pursue. While the initial reviews have been good, how well it works and how awesome it is going to be is up to who uses it and how – so to that end, I am looking for a few beta users. Any stage but just know where you are of these three categories. I use these three columns – 1) Idea, 2) Doing the Work 3) Product no Users/Customers.
These beta users will work with me one on one using the tool to set the tone for your lean startup. These startups can be in any stage as this will be one on one coaching for three weeks. There is flexibility on when this coaching takes place – but it will most likley be virtual. This means that I will be coaching you on the tool and helping you to make the most of the lean principles to build the best solution anyone wants to buy. There are some parameters – but if you are building a startup and you are looking to go from zero to 60 in terms of understanding what you are building, who you are building it for, how you will sell it and whether it is worth it – Applied Lean™ can help you do that.
My goal is to make Applied Lean™ a tool that will ease the integration of modern entrepreneurship and innovation into academic and business environs and to do so in such a way that all ships rise. If any of that matters to you – perhaps you will contribute to this effort by becoming an early user – buy something now to support the effort! Or just sign up for early access! There is a box – at the top of my page – put your email in the box and you will start to get comms about program options as they evolve.