“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” – Groucho Marx In my 21 years as an entrepreneur, I would come up for air once a month to read Harvard Business Review. It was not only my secret weapon in thinking about new startup strategies, it also gave me a view of the management issues my customers were dealing with. Through Harvard Business Review I discovered the work of Peter Drucker and first read about management by objective. I learned about Michael Porter’s five forces. But the eye-opener for me was reading Clayton Christensen’s article on disruption in the mid-1990s and then reading the Innovators Dilemma. Each of these authors, along with others too numerous to mention, profoundly changed my view of management and strategy. All of this in one magazine, with no hype, just a continual stream of great ideas. For decades this revered business magazine described management techniques that were developed in and were for large corporations – offering more efficient and creative ways to execute existing business models. As much as I loved the magazine, there was little in it for start-ups – or new divisions in established companies – searching for a business model. The articles about innovation and entrepreneurship, while insightful felt like they were variants of the existing processes and techniques developed for running existing businesses. There was nothing suggesting that start-ups and new ventures needed their own tools and techniques, different from those written about in Harvard Business Review or taught in business schools. To fill this gap I wrote The Four Steps to the Epiphany, a book about the customer development process and how it changes the way startups are built. The Four Steps drew the distinction that “start-ups are not smaller versions of large companies”. It defined a start-up as a “temporary organisation designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model”. Today its concepts of “minimum viable product”, “iterate and pivot”, “get out of the building” and “no business plan survives first contact with customers”, have become part of the entrepreneurial lexicon. My new book, The Startup Owners Manual, outlined the steps of building a start-up or new division inside a company in far greater detail. In the last decade it has become clear that companies are facing continuous disruption from globalisation, technology shifts, rapidly changing consumer tastes and so on. Business-as-usual management techniques focused on efficiency and execution are no longer a credible response. The techniques invented in what has become the “Lean Startup” movement are now more than ever applicable to reinventing the modern corporation. Large companies like GE, Intuit, Merck, Panasonic, and Qualcomm are leading the charge to adopt the lean approach to drive corporate innovation. And…
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Lean approach to start-ups
May 6, 2013 • Steve Blank
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