Navigating Digital Transformation
We help companies navigate their path to digital transformation.
What We Do
If you aren't currently a Founder, put yourself in the position of wanting to start a company.
You may have been reading about LEAN Startup methodology, watching the many instructional videos, playing around with Experiment Board, Value Proposition Canvas, Business Model Canvas and numerous other tools.
You might be joining Webinars, attending LEAN MeetUps & conferences, spending time with a mentor and generally receiving plenty of advice. You're probably trying to absorb the wisdom of gurus like Steve Blank, Ash Maurya & Eric Ries and you may have discovered Clay Christensen, Anita Newton, Justin Wilcox and Grace Ng.
And there is a fair chance that you are spending so much time studying all this content that you find yourself going slightly crazy and not making the kind of progress with your venture that you want to.
Being involved as I am in the Startup scene in Sydney, San Francisco and Wellington I get a wonderful opportunity to observe Founder behavior and attitudes in all three countries and by and large there's not much difference - the common theme is that the ever growing body of LEAN Startup science has evolved to become very confusing and often a serious distraction to the primary task of getting your Startup started.
My sense is that there is a real need to take this vast body of LEAN knowledge, methodologies & science and provide a simplified pathway that is more readily understood and followed. It's why I have devised the LEAN Hacking™ canvas and training workshop.
If you go back about ten years when Steve Blank started pitching the tech world on LEAN, it was really based on a very simple and clear proposition that startups had to validate assumptions about customer needs and the ONLY way to do that was 'to get out of the building'. A quite perfect distillation of everything he'd learned as an entrepreneur and investor. Steve basically said, "if you don't get out of the building there's a 90% probability your startup will fail".
Over the past ten years Steve's simple premise has evolved, extended and expanded until today where the LEAN Startup movement is a complex science that has launched many consulting careers. Each of the three key stages of LEAN as espoused by Ash Maurya - Problem/Solution Fit, Product/Market Fit and Scale have become complex multi-faceted parts of LEAN Startup science.
The point I make is illustrated perfectly by the Innovator's Roadmap created by Ash. You can print this on an A3 sheet and struggle to read the font. Fully comprehending and being trained using the map is a labor of love that could totally absorb a Founder for months of dedicated work. Meanwhile how is the Founder's Startup progressing ?
What I have become aware of is that LEAN Startup has ironically evolved to become an overly complex process that is quite overwhelming. So, I'd like to offer an alternative model that I believe is more grounded in the realities of Startup life. Founders are already under enormous pressure and have a myriad of concurrent tasks and challenges. Adopting my LEAN Hacking™ canvas is the best chance to either fail-fast or succeed but the pathway has to be easily grasped and followed.
The Minimum Viable Canvas© is a simpler way to start until there is repeatable traction, i.e. the Founder can prove that the value proposition cycle is repeatable and acceptable to customers who are prepared to pay to have their job done.
Apply the KISS principle to LEAN Startup.
The Minimum Viable Canvas© is ideal for disruptors, entrepreneurs and enterprise innovation teams who need to rapidly validate assumptions before developing products.
“To disrupt a world in constant change you are better to follow a (LEAN) compass than a detailed map. The LEAN Hacking™ Minimum Viable Canvas© and training workshop validate new venture decisions faster than any other LEAN tool.” – Greg Twemlow
Minimum Viable Canvas Workshop
A Faster Way to Validate New Venture Ideas
The Discipline of Innovation
One of the most pernicious myths in innovation is that it is fundamentally a challenge of creativity. If we can only help our people be more creative, then the innovation will flow. Framed this way, innovation becomes an attribute. It becomes something innate and phenomenological. We can only set the right conditions (cue the loft space, denim and other ritual objects) and hope it happens. This is when we start calling for that “culture” of innovation.
Instead, if we frame innovation as a challenge of discipline—of learning to use the right methods, tools and approaches at the right times—then we quickly focus on very different imperatives:
We become students of innovation: We don’t expect someone without training to build a discounted cash flow model or develop a marketing segmentation. Nor would we expect someone new to an industry to already understand its structure and dynamics. So why do we expect our colleagues and leaders to suddenly manifest an ability to innovate? And why don’t we expect them to study innovation systematically—both the methods they should apply in different contexts (e.g., when to use lean and agile methods vs. design methods) as well as meaningful innovations in the surrounding landscape (e.g., what can we learn from companies like Uber)? Like any other business function or discipline, innovation has tradecraft that we can learn, practice and hone.
We measure methods and results: When we start seeing innovation as a discipline, then we also start focusing on what works and what doesn’t—and we set goals and measure results. This doesn’t mean we start asking for a 5-year financial projection two weeks into an initiative. It does mean paying attention to which inputs yield better outputs; did our time spent brainstorming in a room yield better ideas (doubtful), or did spending the same time studying our customers? We start reviewing our efforts, spotting where we made critical breakthroughs and where we missed key insights. This should be the point of “celebrating failure,” which, if we’re honest, is a silly thing to celebrate for its own virtue. We make sure we salvage all possible learning, and see how it can improve both our current business and our innovation capabilities. We also look across the range of innovation initiatives underway, and ask if they’re collectively addressing the right issues. Do they have the right balance of risk and likely return, and are we dedicating enough resources (time, money and people) to them?
We make innovation obligatory rather than optional: Finally, if we can see innovation as a discipline, then we can start demanding it from our organization. We can hold our team and business unit leaders accountable for sponsoring innovation initiatives, and charge our bright, high potential employees with developing. Some of the most powerful innovators in history, ranging from GE to Honda to Google, have connected involvement in innovation initiatives to career development, incentives and promotion—because innovation is what they expect from their future leaders. Innovation also becomes an investment that we start funding programmatically, instead of scraping budget dollars together each quarter, because it’s vital to the ongoing health and success of our business. We stop hoping innovation will happen and start requiring it from each other and ourselves.
Websites by Greg Twemlow