What is lean startup?

In previous blog posts, we’ve explored a number of innovation frameworks including blue ocean strategy and design thinking. In this blog post, we investigate another influential innovation framework: lean startup.

The lean startup was made famous by Eric Ries in his 2011 book of the same name. Originally designed as a methodology for helping tech startups drive growth, it has since been adopted by a number of large corporations to aid product and service development.

In the traditional, waterfall approach to product development a great deal of time and money is spent developing a product that is ultimately validated by, rather than informed by consumers. Lean startup aims to counter this with its ‘Build, Measure, Learn’ philosophy.

The ‘Build, Measure, Learn’ process involves building a minimum viable product (a prototype which shows what the product is capable of) and then testing it with consumers to measure how they respond against a series of metrics. Then comes the ‘Learn’ phase, where the minimal viable product is iterated to improve the product or service according to consumer needs before the cycle begins again.

But what if the product doesn’t resonate with consumers? In most other methodologies it would be considered a failure but in lean startup this is all part of the learning process. Companies are simply encouraged to pivot the product or service (i.e. pursue a different direction) and then begin the ‘Build, Measure, Learn’ cycle again.

Want to find out more about lean startup? Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll be looking at brands that have harnessed the lean startup methodology.

This blog post is part of series designed to equip insight professionals with the tools, frameworks and terminology to make their mark on the innovation process. Want to know more? Download our whitepaper on the subject here.