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Lean Startup

How Advancing Their Lean Startup Practice Helps Intrapreneurs Break Through Organizational Roadblocks

By Collaboration, Culture, Lean Startup, Talent No Comments

Starting an innovation project is exciting.
Finally… work that could have a real, tangible, positive impact not only for your company, but for your customers (and let’s be honest – for your career prospects) as well.

And then? It happens. Progress begins to slow down and you’re not sure why. Your landing page test failed. Sales won’t let you do discovery with current customers, and all your big ideas seem to be getting eaten alive by silos, policies, and systems built to support the successes of the past – not the future.

That’s why the Advanced Lean Startup workshop exists. Developed by Tristan Kromer (Kromatic) and hosted by Rob Aalders from Startup Spirit, it’s designed to show you how to effectively break through roadblocks and manage your project’s needs, goals and priorities in a large organisation.

We sat down with Rob to find out what obstacles innovators often face, how to know what you’re doing right (and wrong), and what innovation managers need to be doing in order to move their teams in the right direction; and, of course, how the workshop helps with all of it.

First things first – who is this workshop for? Who will get the most out of it?
The Advanced Lean Startup workshop is meant for those who have, at least, been through one cycle, one lean startup process or innovation process. This is because the workshop focuses on experience and the practice of innovation – not on theory, what comes from the books and talks and all that. We want people who have been in the trenches and have experienced the innovation process, and some of the organisational and process obstacles that come along with it.

We also have a learning platform with carefully curated content for people to access before they get to the workshop. It ensures they have a good basic knowledge when they enter the workshop – so we don’t end up discussing what a pivot is, for example. We skip all of that and go right into the real hard work.

When you’re doing a lean startup process, there are times where things aren’t going well, and you wonder: is the method not working, or am I doing it wrong, or is this just not going to work?
Often, these people have been questioning themselves about their speed: am I moving fast enough? How much time should this experiment take, and is the time it took for me right? Am I spending too much time on this, or not enough? They also question their experimentation and velocity: am I doing enough experiments? The outcome metric of the experiment itself… is it right?

But in this workshop, we begin with the questions themselves.

“Am I asking the right questions? Are we talking about the right assumptions? The assumptions that we have, are they prioritised in the right way? Are we focused on the right things?”

So your assumptions, and the experiments you run based on those assumptions, are a key starting point for team members as well as for innovation managers.

Some other things that are very important, and that people really love to talk about, is how to find the right tactics to work around obstacles in their organisation. When you’re running an innovation project you’re not in a cocoon; you’re part of the traditional corporate ecosystem, and you have to work with colleagues in other departments who are functioning more traditionally in their day-to-day. This can, and often does, result in conflicts and obstacles that can hamper your experimentation.

So finding tactics to work around these obstacles, or better yet solve them, is a large part of the Advanced Lean Startup workshop.

It can be hard to understand why, when an experiment was good in the sense that you did it correctly, it didn’t lead to a desired outcome. How do you know what went wrong?
It’s a tough question to answer and that’s one of the things we try to teach, because every experiment and every industry is, of course, different. That’s why people can bring their own project into the workshop, so that we can look and evaluate what they’ve put in there.

But there is a framework, or things that you could learn, that signal you that your experiment is wrong, or your validation is wrong, or your metrics are all wrong.

And of course some common issues come up, like validating your idea based on one, two, or three interviews, which is, in virtually all cases, very weird. I mean the only case where that might work is in a market that is very very small: let’s say we’re a nuclear plant builder and we need these specific nuclear machines. There’s only maybe two or three companies in the world building that, very few clients. For most markets there’s a whole bunch of clients, so validating based on a handful of interviews is not sufficient.

You’ve got the experiment itself, but you also have to consider the sequence of experiments and selecting the assumptions you are testing upfront. It’s a matter of prioritising correctly.

You need to know: what is the impact of this assumption on my business? How big is that impact? But you should also ask: how complex, or how complicated, is the experiment itself? How much time and resources do I need to run this experiment? Because you also want to keep things simple.

And then from there, and this is where the two-by-two framework comes in, you need to figure out what you’re testing. Are we focusing on the product? Are we testing the market? And then you must decide if you’re running a generative experiment, which gives you more qualitative data, or an evaluative experiment where you get more hard data. So you need to be very aware of what experiment fits into what box. This is all basic stuff that you can teach but,of course, practice is always different.

What about innovation managers? Are the obstacles they face different from, say, the obstacles their team faces? How would this workshop help them?
We tend to see innovation managers in two roles: the innovation manager, and the innovation lead coach.

The innovation lead coach often works very closely with teams, and they also use this workshop as a Train The Trainer. If you want to teach people lean startup it’s helpful if you have wider, deeper knowledge beyond just things you’re currently working and focusing on, and more advanced skills and knowledge in your pocket. It makes you a better trainer and you’ll be able to get your own people to a higher level. So innovation managers who want to train their teams, to make their innovators coaches within their organisations, use this workshop to train them and help grow the innovation crowd within their business.

The innovation manager is more concerned with the kinds of things I mentioned earlier: is our speed right? Are the experiments right? When you’re a manager, people come to you and ask: we’re running this experiment, is this is okay? Do you have any feedback? Can you help me out here? So for them, it’s beneficial to have not just some experience but also knowledge, frameworks, toolboxes to draw from so they’re capable of evaluating experiments as well. When you’re growing the number of experiments and growing the number of innovation initiatives, things get much more complicated. You need to find ways to measure and track the experiments that you are running, and to help teams evaluate if they’re doing it right, if they’re doing the right stuff. The frameworks, knowledge and experience Tristan brings to the workshop is very helpful here.

The first day and the morning of the second day of the workshop we really dig into the tools, methods, and tactics of running the innovation project itself. On the second day, in the afternoon, we discuss what Tristan calls ecosystem design: how to operate as an innovator in your organisation and how to overcome obstacles in that process. I see this as a key role for innovation managers, to remove organisational obstacles or find ways around them. The innovation manager should be able to find the right people and get the right decisions to help their teams work better and faster. In ecosystem design, we draw up a picture of the organisation and identify who the decision makers are in your organisations, and also the different types of decision makers you might need. We add to that some tactics, all based on wide experience, for overcoming obstacles in a positive way. Managers tend to find this very helpful.

So why go through a workshop like this, as opposed to reading a book or watching some talks and then just going for it?
That’s exactly what our participants have figured out; at some point, books and talks are not enough. What we see and hear back from a lot of people is that they realised there is so much more to learn. Everyone comes in open, with a lot of questions about stuff they’re doing – even people from organisations that we regard as leaders in innovation. Their innovators have brought issues to the team table and actually found out that, okay, everyone here thinks we’re doing Lean Startup, and some of us are, but there’s a whole bunch of us that are doing it wrong, or at least could be doing it much, much better than we are.

I often compare it to learning to play football. We can go out on the street. You can kick the ball and we can say: ok, you can kick the ball so you can play soccer. Technically, sure.

“But then why do people go to football training every week, or twice a week? Or to play professionally, even more than that? Because playing football is about much more than just knowing how to kick a ball.”

This is also true for innovation. You have to practice. You have to build your skills. You have to learn, always be learning. This is what happens in the advanced workshop. From the feedback, people say they’ve really learned a lot and that they can really improve the way they work in their teams, or train their teams way better. It really adds to what they’re already doing.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m very much in favour of learning on the job, of doing practical stuff and learning from it right there.

“But it’s also true that if you’re working in a corporate, you can get a bit of tunnel vision whether you want to or mean to or not.”

A workshop like this one opens your mind. You get to review and reflect on what you do. You see all the different types of tools, you’ve got the frameworks. You start working with things you’ve never worked with before, in ways you’ve never worked before. Gradually you become better and better at innovation.

I like to compare innovation sometimes with marketing. In the 70s it was totally new and people couldn’t explain exactly what it was. And today, it’s just a normal function in the organisation.

Could you imagine a company without a marketing department? And this is also where innovation is heading. And this, this learning, this practice, is part of the process.

Interview with Rob Aalders
Founder/CEO of Startup Spirit & Lean Startup Workshop
This blog was originally posted on and written by Tracy Bradley

Why Lean Startup?

By Customer Experience, Design, Lean Startup No Comments

Nobody has the ability to read the mind of a customer, but the Lean Startup method is about as close as you can get. Every entrepreneur’s nightmare is committing vast amounts of passion, time and energy to a product which will ultimately fail to sell. The Lean Startup method overturns the classic way of starting a new business – going straight from a business plan to the completed product – and involves the customer in the process from the get-go, so you minimise risk, save time and create something that people can’t wait to get their hands on.

Let’s face it – when you’re creating a new product or service, you’re gazing into a crystal ball. No matter how much research you’ve done, ultimately you’re making an educated guess about what people will want. Whether you’re launching a startup or an initiative within a large corporation, the classic formula dictates that you start with a business plan. This document describes the size of an opportunity, the problem to be solved and in what way the product will solve it. It usually involves predicting how the venture will perform financially in the coming five years, even if the product doesn’t exist yet. A classic business plan is written in solitude, backed by research but lacking any input from customers. You proceed to pitch the plan to investors, assemble a team and build the product. Then, you introduce it into the market and hope for the best.

75% of all startups fail, so an educated guess most likely won’t be enough to make it as a business. You need to stand out from the crowd by knowing what your prospective customer is looking for and adapting to this at a fast pace. When done right, the Lean Startup method teaches you how to grow a business with maximum acceleration.

How does it work?
The Lean Startup method was introduced by entrepreneur, blogger and author Eric Ries. When two of his past ventures failed, he realised that he lost a large amount of money and time building products without ever verifying if they solved a real problem. They didn’t and naturally, the products
 flopped. Ries knew he needed to build his business in a way that would cut back the risk of this happening again.

As the founder of a lean startup, you don’t start by writing a business plan, but by searching for a business model. Instead of writing a detailed plan based on assumptions, you use a framework called The Business Model Canvas to summarise your hypotheses. The Business Model Canvas is dynamic and changes over time. Founders of lean startups test their hypotheses and learn from their own misconceptions and failures. You will fail, but believe it or not, this is the best thing that can happen to your business.

Success through failure
Failure in the right circumstances is what makes a startup thrive. It’s important to realize that failing quickly means winning in the long run. A lean startup will most likely get it wrong multiple times before finding the ideal approach. The Lean Startup method uses a minimum viable product (MVP), which is an extremely basic version of your product, and introduces this to customers early on in the process. An MVP is not a costly, labor-intensive prototype, but rather a rudimentary version with just enough features to be able to gather feedback from customers. This way of developing eliminates wasted time and resources. An MVP is minimalistic, but helps you to learn what’s working, what isn’t and in which direction to steer the business. You can use this information to quickly change your product or business model to meet consumer needs. If an idea doesn’t work out in the real world, it’s best to find out fast and adapt. Sometimes you need to make small adjustments (iterations) to your idea and other times the collected input might call for more substantial ones (pivot).

And you don’t ask for customers’ opinions once – you keep interacting with real-life buyers throughout the whole creative process. There will be many development cycles, each giving the product a better chance of surviving and even thriving in your market of choice. Building the final product will come at a later stage, when feedback has been implemented time after time, ideas have shifted, MVP’s have been tested and you know you’re creating something of real value. If you think that sounds like a lot of work – think about the amount of labour wasted when you create a fully functioning product only to find out that no one is interested in buying it.

Why Lean Startup?
Every entrepreneur knows that launching a startup can be wildly thrilling, but is not without personal and financial risk. The Lean Startup method helps minimise risk by implementing the build-measure-learn feedback loop, which is at the core of the Lean Startup methodology. Build your MVP, listen to the input of customers and learn from it. The Lean Startup method is a process that will allow you to create a made-to-measure solution to a problem that exists in the real world, while doing this fast and cost-effectively. If you want to create a sustainable business with minimal waste of both time and money, the Lean Startup method is for you.

Why Big Companies Are Losing When It Comes To Disruptive Innovation (And How To Get Back On Track)

By Culture, Ecosystem, Lean Startup, Open Innovation No Comments

Companies have money and resources, so why is it so hard for them to excel in groundbreaking, disruptive innovation?

Just before the iPhone was announced in 2007, BlackBerry phones were the most popular on the market. However, the iPhone with its revolutionary touch screen, turned the BlackBerry into an archaic device. Instead of turning to disruptive innovation, BlackBerry believed that their keyboard phone would remain appealing to business people and professionals. They were wrong, and with that, the company lost momentum. In 2013, they were down 50 percent in their quarter earnings, and were cutting 4,500 workers.

Other big corporations — Nokia, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard to name a few — also felt the frustration of accelerating performance.

Why is it so difficult for big companies to establish (and maintain) the ability to innovate, while all of them have innovation programs, innovation departments, and/or innovation officers?

The Innovator’s Dilemma

One reason why corporations may have a hard time setting up successful innovation strategy is because of the innovator’s dilemma. This dilemma arises when companies are dominant and have a need to protect their market. Their focus moves from disruptive innovation to sustaining innovation.

At some point however, a competitor will emerge that will threaten their business with a better alternative. These companies are thus faced with a dilemma: sustain the market where they are excelling (BlackBerry example) but lose some great opportunities, or focus on these (“crazy”) opportunities that might only bear fruits in the longer run (if at all)?

Gary P. Pisano, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, notes that the problem is not with failure to execute, but is rooted in the lack of innovation strategy. What’s important about building good innovation strategies, he adds, is that they help align diverse groups within an organisation (a problem that startups rarely face), define objectives and help focus efforts on them.

The thing about innovation strategy is that you can learn from that of another organisation, but you cannot copy. There is no one system that fits all companies equally well or works under all circumstances.

It is a mistake to believe that what works for, say, Apple (today’s favourite innovator) is going to work for your organisation. You can’t copy culture.

Nokia, once the world’s leading mobile producer, sold to Microsoft for €5.4 billion with only three percent of the global smartphone market share in 2013. Technology didn’t kill Nokia, neither did ideas or the people. Nokia had the technology to build an iPhone but didn’t. It was the lack of a burning platform and innovation culture. The company was massively underestimating competition just because they believed Nokia was the untouchable market leader – wrong.

As we can see, corporations can make wrong assumptions and what’s more, they are great at killing “bad” ideas.

The problem is that disruptive ideas at first seem bad. Renting out an airbed does not sound like a great idea, but today AirBnB overshadows some of the world’s largest hotel groups.

There’s no culture of supporting bad ideas, but there’s a culture of killing them. This creates a situation in which employees don’t want to share ideas anymore. Additionally, corporates often lack the right innovation strategy and structure particularly for disruptive ideas.

So going back to the innovator’s dilemma, it seems that companies face this question (even if they don’t explicitly ask it): “should we sustain the market where the sailing (seems) clear, or should we rock our boat and explore uncharted waters?

In many cases, such as in life, staying in the clear is more comfortable, but at some point this comfort can turn into grief.

The good news is that this dilemma is not a Catch-22, and there are ways for corporations to keep their comfort, and still explore new territories.

Three horizons…
Steve Blank discusses the way to bridge the Lean Startup methodology with corporate innovation. He incorporates two strategic principles. The first proposes that companies who want to be innovative need to execute their core business parallel to focusing on innovation. The second proposes that a company should distribute its innovation to three horizons:

  1. Mature businesses
  2. Rapidly growing business
  3. Emerging businesses

Activities in horizon 1 support existing business models (where the sailing seems clear). Horizon 2 is focused on extending existing businesses with partially known business models (the boat starts rocking) and horizon 3 is focused on unknown business models (the storm is near).

Most corporates are not that active in Horizon 3, but remain in the (partial) comfort of horizon 1 and 2. Horizon 3 is long-term and risky. It doesn’t pay-off till the next CEO is in place, so there is little incentive for the current CEO to invest in it, leading this horizon to be the first to suffer from budget-cuts.

Interacting with four zones
Geoffrey Moore provides an interesting way to deal with this situation by proposing four zones that interact with the three horizons. These zones help companies separate the resources that go into sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation.

In the Performance zone (horizon 1) operation of established business models happen. It is about making the numbers. This zone is supposed to make up about 90% of the company’s revenue. One mistake is to believe that shareholders only care about this zone and focus all the resources here.
The Productivity Zone (also horizon 1) has no direct accountability for the revenue of the company. It is the space for shared services such as: marketing, manufacturing, customer service, finance, etc. These enable the company to perform. The zone’s task is to target efficiencies, improve operations, and direct resources to core activities.

The Incubation Zone (horizon 3) acts as a host to fast-growing offers in emerging categories/markets that did not yet materialise. Here nest the next-generation teams, who will hatch up a number of projects. The funding needs to flow to projects with a potential to scale.

The next zone is in charge of scaling up such projects. The Transformation Zone (horizon 2) is supposed to materialise and scale up disruptive innovation. The goal is to create new business that makes up 10% (or more) of the revenues. Success in this zone would affect how investors value the company, and attract new partners. However, failure here could pull the company down the pecking order.

It is important to keep these zones separated (similar to the first strategic principle from Steve Blank) because each zone requires a different kind of management with a different set of objectives. However, they must work alongside each other. How though?

  • By providing a structure that keeps them apart, and prevents methods and metrics getting mixed up between the zones.
  • Apply best practices for each zone, separately.
  • Have (lightweight) governance that keeps an overview of the all the zones, and helps with planning and resource allocation.

Ideally, there is a balance between the four zones, so that your organisation is able to promote and embrace disruptive innovation, but such balance is what they frequently lack. Often, they miss the knowledge and people to build it. Executives have never (or rarely) learned about this type of business, but are now confronted with the swift reality of the Information Age.

How can we be both a corporation and a startup?
Innovation is another kind of business, which requires a unique structure, KPI’s and management. Companies, that want to remain in the game, need to find ways to transcend the innovator’s dilemma. They need to employ a strategy of innovation — one that can contain parallel operations. They need to ask themselves: how best can we allocate our resources to both sustain and innovate? How can we think inside and outside the box simultaneously? How can we be both a corporation and a startup?

Although corporates are becoming more and more aware of this situation and are raising these important questions, reforming their strategies is not easy and cannot happen overnight. Changing/building/shaping the culture of the organisation takes time. Implementing changes, especially in regulation-congested organisations, takes time; finding out what works and what doesn’t work takes time too. Nevertheless, there is also no time to not do it. The transformation is real and it is happening, and although it’s scary, exploring uncharted waters can lead to real treasure.


By Nitzan Merguei and thanks to Rob Aalders (Startup Spirit) for his contribution to this article.

Lean Startups Need Lean People

By Culture, Lean Startup No Comments

5 Traits to Look for in the People YOU Need to Make It Work

Do you have a business idea? Do you have an answer to a problem? Do you have the key to the next “best thing”? If so, you may be familiar with the idea of the Lean Startup. The concept of Lean Startup was brought about by Eric Ries and Steve Blank as a method to follow through and make your best ideas come to life. The concept is innovative and produces great results, but there is one key element that not everyone talks about. That element is the people behind the startup.

The ideas that create the methodology behind building a Lean Startup are fairly simple: look at the big picture, always experiment, constantly evaluate, be flexible and don’t be afraid to fail. In a Lean Startup, these ideas are applied to production and research methods as well as marketing and sales in order to create success. Now, think about if you applied these ideas to the people inside of the startup. What if your people were just as lean as your processes?

Unfortunately, it’s not always as easy to groom the people inside of your startup as it is to groom the practices. That’s why you have to find or nurture the right people to make your Lean Startup possible. If you are already inside of a company and looking to grow new ideas, these people may be all around you. If you aren’t beginning from within a company you may have to go out and find these people. However you do it, it will be worth your time.

1. Find People who See the Big Picture
In a Lean Startup, there is a methodology that goes into developing a successful business. In order for your Lean startup to be successful, you and the people within it will have to understand that there is a continual process that must be followed, and there are many small goals to reach within the larger, overall goal.

Now, the question is – how do you identify the people who see the big picture? In most company positions, someone applies for a job, gets the job, comes to do the job they were given and nothing more. These are not the people you want, or the person you want to be in a Lean Startup. The person you want (the person who sees the big picture) is the person who asks questions about how their position or projects align with the needs of the client. Are we doing the right things, and are we doing things right? The person who sees the big picture is the person who understands what you need. If you have this type of person in your Lean Startup, they will be able to take a step back from their role and help to solve problems at every level in order to create the best outcome possible.

2. Find People who Develop Themselves (People need to know that they don’t know)
A Lean Startup project is in a constant stage of development. The simple motivation behind the constant development of a Lean Startup is that the product will always be improving in order to create (more) revenue and grow the company. This means, while finishing one goal, the team must already be moving forward to the next stage in order to stay relevant and on top of the ever-changing market. This theory applies to all aspects of a Lean Startup and the people should be no exception.

In order for your Lean Startup to be successful, you and the people within it have to constantly be working to improve your thought processes and your skills in order to keep up with competition.

These people are identified as the people who are always looking towards learning the next “new skill” or “best practice” in order to help move the business forward. People who are constantly developing themselves come to their supervisors with new ideas or share insights from materials that they have read. In a Lean Startup, these people will be beneficial to have as stakeholders because they can move themselves forward with the product. People who develop themselves can easily move from one position to another as is needed in the project, and they can easily adapt because they do not fear change. If you can find people who can develop themselves, they will be able to improve their skills and knowledge as the company grows in success.

3. Find People Who Evaluate Themselves
Due to the constant state of movement that is required in a Lean Startup, it is important to understand the importance of evaluation. In a Lean Startup there are multiple goals to meet that often overlap, and people take on more than one role at a time. Therefore, one has to be able to step back and look at which factors of the plan worked and did not work and use that information to create momentum for the accomplishment of the next goal.

In order for your Lean Startup to be successful, you and the people within it have to be able to evaluate yourselves and your processes / data.

To find the people who are able to evaluate themselves, you must first look to people who value feedback in all forms. These are the people who reach out to others for second-opinions on their work and search for both positive and negative criticisms. The people who are able to evaluate themselves realize that there is always the possibility of a better person or a better product out there. People who are able to evaluate themselves create multiple versions of their work before submitting it, because they know that they are always able to do more. The individuals who can evaluate themselves will be able to look deeper into the lean process to identify which factors can be improved upon in order to create overall success.

4. Find People Who are Flexible
When moving from one stage of development to the next, it is important to be able to adapt to the ever changing projects and conditions that are needed in order to be successful. As in all business, sometimes creating a successful product takes one-step forward and two-steps back. While the processes of a Lean Startup are designed to create a flow from one stage to another, it is inevitable that at any given time, there will be unforeseen circumstances. When these circumstances hit, it is important to have people in place who can handle setbacks without a major meltdown.

In order for your Lean Startup to be successful, you and the people within it have to be flexible in order to adapt quickly and overcome challenges.

You can pick out people with professional flexibility by finding people who can keep up in a position where the job description changes regularly. In an innovation project, the day-to-day routine is never the same; one day there could be problems to solve regarding manufacturing and production while the next day may call for market research for the next phase of the product. To make the business successful, a person has to be able to take on multiple challenges and not be rattled by roadblocks.

5. Find People Who are Not Afraid of Failure
With a constantly developing product and market, multi-levelled plans, and an ever-changing market comes the very realistic possibility of failure. When setting out on a Lean Startup venture, there is always the possibility that the idea could come to a crashing halt and that the overall product will fail. However, because the Lean Startup methodology is designed to be more streamlined with outlined stages, the risk of complete failure compared to an average startup is decreased. That being said, it is nearly impossible that someone setting out on a Lean Startup venture will never experience failure. At some point throughout the process failure is inevitable, and that’s okay. In a Lean Startup, one has to be able to take risks in order to see rewards, and risks that fail teach lessons that lead to risks that succeed.

In order for your Lean Startup to be successful, you and the people within it have to be willing to fail.

People who are aren’t afraid of failure are usually fairly easy to find, because they are the ones who stand out. If someone isn’t afraid of failure, they usually speak up regarding ideas they don’t believe in, spearhead new projects, and are the first to volunteer in uncomfortable situations. People who are not afraid of failure understand that through their failure they will be able to find a key to something that ultimately leads to success. Essentially, finding people with this quality will be the biggest key to success, because these people are the kind of people who don’t give up.

Get the People to Get it Done
The lean process has proven itself time and time again in many different industries, and continues to guide entrepreneurs on towards success. If you have a Lean Startup or are intrigued by it, you can learn the processes, methodologies, tips, tricks and secrets to success through research and education. However, the implementation of all that you learn and know will prove to be much easier if you have the right people in place.

If you think that you have the ability to be the next Apple, then you have to invest in your idea. Most entrepreneurs are willing to invest the necessary time and money into finding the best manufacturing, marketing, and research to make their product a success. What many fail to remember at the beginning is that if you invest the time and money into finding the best people to put behind your product, your success is more likely to last.

The Lean Startup process is exciting, fun and challenging. It is the best way that you can accomplish bringing your “next best thing” to the market. It’s worth taking the time to learn how to implement the Lean Startup process; if you are able to learn it, put your resources into finding individuals who are as lean as the processes that you implement, so you can get on the road to your success.

5 ways to overcome obstacles to innovation

By Culture, Design, Ecosystem, Lean Startup, Open Innovation No Comments

5 ways to overcome obstacles to innovation:

#1 Lengthy projects
Anу given рrоjесt, whеthеr it’ѕ dеvеlорing a nеw рrоduсt or сrеаting аn updated vеrѕiоn of an оld one, саn tаkе mоnthѕ tо соmрlеtе. Thе рrоblеm with thiѕ рrосеѕѕ iѕ that if ѕоmеthing iѕn’t right with thе еnd result, уоu may find уоu’vе just wasted a уеаr оr mоrе оf your timе. Yоu саn wоrk in a vеrу еffiсiеnt mаnnеr аlоng a two to fоur-wееk сусlе, whеrе you implement, рuѕh to рrоduсtiоn аnd measure the imрасt, but уоu nееd to bе on the spot аt аll times for thе tеаm to undеrѕtаnd whаt’ѕ аt ѕtаkе.

Look at thе individuаl раrtѕ оf a ѕуѕtеm that rеquirе сhаngе, brеаk thе сhаllеngе down intо ѕub-соmроnеntѕ, assign small teams with dеfinеd timelines, сеlеbrаtе ѕmаll ѕuссеѕѕеѕ аnd fоllоw uр with rарid itеrаtiоn.

#2 Not making enough time to innovate
Arе уоu mаking rооm fоr innоvаtiоn in уоur day-to-day operations? Companies оftеn gеt caught uр in mееting short-term реrfоrmаnсе criteria, which lеаvеѕ nо time for innоvаtivе thinking аnd соllаbоrаtiоn.

“Professionals nееd tо ѕеt аѕidе time for innоvаtiоn оn a соnѕiѕtеnt basis — and the timе nееdѕ tо bе prioritized”. “The еntеrрriѕе nееdѕ tо knоw hоw to ѕроt innоvаtiоnѕ, аnd hаvе a соnduit fоr dеvеlорing innоvаtivе соnсерtѕ. Wоrk tо сrеаtе a ѕimрlе аgеndа that dеfines hоw to funnel innоvаtivе idеаѕ thrоugh.”

#3 Break down internal walls
If you think that аll gооd idеаѕ соmе frоm the C-ѕuitе, think аgаin. Putting uр “walls аnd оnlу listening tо thе executive tеаm for inѕрirаtiоn will асtuаllу hurt innovation mоrе thаn it helps. Sоmеtimеѕ the bеѕt idеаѕ соmе frоm team members whо aren’t packing the реdigrееd сrеdеntiаlѕ оr wоrking in thе C-ѕuitеѕ,” Lеvу told Buѕinеѕѕ Nеwѕ Daily. “Thе соmраniеѕ that hаvе risen аbоvе others сhаllеngе thеir ѕtаff tо be innovative in an аll-inсluѕivе соmmunitу. Exесutivеѕ muѕt соnѕtаntlу соllаbоrаtе with ѕtаff at аll levels and make each реrѕоn feel that nо idеа iѕ bad оr tоо fаr-fеtсhеd.

#4 Imbalances between speed and data collection
In an аgе whеn companies hаvе ассеѕѕ tо mоuntаinѕ оf dаtа оn nеаrlу еvеrу facet of thеir buѕinеѕѕ, it’ѕ еаѕу tо ѕау thаt уоur оrgаnizаtiоn needs to be data-driven. “Put processes in place аt both thе individuаl аnd company lеvеl thаt еnсоurаgе finding the hарру medium between ѕрееd and dаtа collection. Whаt wе’vе found is thаt everyone iѕ nаturаllу mоrе inсlinеd to fаvоur mоving fаѕt, or tо fаvоur in-depth dаtа-drivеn decisions. Whеn diѕсuѕѕing any business innovation, wе fоrсе dеbаtе оvеr thiѕ tорiс at multiple ѕtаgеѕ of thе process to еnѕurе [орtimаl] momentum.”

#5 Fear of change
Chаngе iѕ аt thе heart of innovation, аnd уеt, as a соmраnу grоwѕ biggеr, ѕhаking up thе ѕtаtuѕ quo bесоmеѕ a littlе mоrе diffiсult than when it wаѕ in thе еаrlу ѕtаrt-uр phase. “Evеn whеn еvеrуоnе аgrееѕ [а change] is for thе bеttеr … you are аffесting the habits аnd rоutinеѕ оf hundrеdѕ оf individuаlѕ, аѕ wеll as thе lеgасу platforms that thеу hаvе been uѕing.
Whеn ѕоmеоnе brings fоrth a nеw рrосеѕѕ or idеа, lеt him оr hеr run with it, hе ѕаid. Have thе team member flеѕh it оut in writing, аnd if thе idеа has mеrit, аѕk him or her to test it, аlоng with some other соllеаguеѕ.
“Inclusion is also imроrtаnt, as it еmроwеrѕ individuals аnd givеѕ thеm a ѕеnѕе of оwnеrѕhiр,” Ontrа said. “And in thе еnd, if it wоrkѕ, it turns intо a tеаm win.”

Want to be more innovative. Here are 3 ways to do so:

#1 Willingness to Change
It ѕtаrtѕ with a rеѕtlеѕѕnеѕѕ and willingnеѕѕ to соnѕidеr сhаngе. Many реорlе саn think of a nеw, fаѕtеr, mоrе efficient wау to get thingѕ dоnе. Hоwеvеr, change takes еnеrgу, discipline, and a willingnеѕѕ tо dо ѕоmеthing that’s nеvеr been dоnе bеfоrе. Fоr many асtivitiеѕ that will ultimаtеlу mаkе uѕ mоrе еffiсiеnt, thеrе is a learning сurvе. Whеn wе сhаngе from a mеthоd wе’vе mastered to a nеw process, we are invariably аwkwаrd at first. The new tool makes uѕ feel at bеѕt unсоmfоrtаblе аnd аt wоrѕt incompetent. It takes timе and рrасtiсе fоr uѕ to return to our рrеviоuѕ lеvеl of ѕkill, but оvеr timе we ѕее thе vаluе оf сhаngе аnd perhaps even wonder why wе laboured ѕо hеаvilу оn infеriоr аррrоасhеѕ bеfоrе. For innоvаtiоn tо еxiѕt, уоu hаvе tо fееl inѕрirеd. Thiѕ comes frоm a сlеаr ѕеnѕе оf рurроѕе аnd mеаning tо thеir wоrk.

#2 Not Settling for Good Enough
Thе реорlе who wеrе mоѕt likely tо bе innоvаtivе were thоѕе whо wеrеn’t ѕаtiѕfiеd with gооd performance but wеrе rеlеntlеѕѕlу lооking fоr wауѕ to rаiѕе thе bar. Thеу rесruitеd exceptionally tаlеntеd реорlе whо wоuld challenge them аnd thеir оrgаnizаtiоn. Thеу avoided bumblеrѕ, whееl ѕрinnеrѕ, аnd рhоniеѕ. However, thе mоѕt innоvаtivе реорlе were соnѕtаntlу lооking fоr bеttеr methods and орtiоnѕ. They еxсеllеd bу ѕеtting ѕtrеtсh gоаlѕ. Thеѕе gоаlѕ rеquirеd реорlе to gо fаr bеуоnd wоrking hаrdеr, but required thеm tо find nеw mеthоdѕ in оrdеr to achieve thе gоаl. Thе challenge оf meeting thе gоаl wаѕ оftеn framed as “getting tо thе nеxt level.”

#3 Assembling an Innovative Community
Thе wonderful thing аbоut using innоvаtiоn tо increase ѕрееd iѕ thаt when уоu imрlеmеnt it wеll, it becomes аn indереndеnt аnd powerful force that propels thе оrgаnizаtiоn fоrwаrd. It augments lеаdеrѕ аnd inсrеаѕеѕ their реrfоrmаnсе. Knоwing this, a key quеѕtiоn to аѕk yourself is: “Whаt is hоlding mе back frоm being mоrе innоvаtivе?” Your dеlау mау bе limiting уоu more thаn you know.

So there you have it. Overcome those obstacles and become more innovative. It all comes down to you!