Although The Lean Startup by Eric Ries was written only five years ago, it has become a classic read for entrepreneurs and innovators. Ries has revolutionized how startup companies think and act by applying the concepts of lean manufacturing to startup ventures. Ries also shows how his Lean Startup concept can be used by intrapreneurs – people or teams within an organization who work to create new products or services. He has turned Lean Startup into a movement that includes conferences and workshops that take place around the world.
The core of the Lean Startup methodology is continual learning through a Build-Measure-Learn loop that cycles very quickly. The startup builds a product or service, puts it in front of potential customers, tests their response, then learns from that response what to add, remove, or change on its product or service. The changed product or service then becomes the starting point for the next Build-Measure-Learn loop.
Another revolutionary idea that The Lean Startup introduced is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The entrepreneur uses the MVP to test whether a customer sees value in the product and what features a customer values or disregards. Ries suggests that instead of the startup working to design and produce the perfect product with every feature they can conceive a customer wanting or needing, the startup can produce a better product with less waste by building the MVP, running it through the Build-Measure-Loop cycle, and adding or improving only the features critical to customers.
I am the Factory Associate at Factory, a coworking space established by the library’s partnership with LaunchWest and the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance. At Factory, we have entrepreneurs as well as freelancers and remote coworkers. Factory gives entrepreneurs a supportive and collaborative environment where they can talk and walk through their ideas and get immediate feedback from other Factory members. It is an ideal backdrop for the Lean Startup.