Through the work we do at MOSH and our varied professional backgrounds we’ve worked with a number of business and tech startups. We’ve seen lots succeed and plenty fail. If you’re considering a new project you should take a look at a school of thought called ‘The Lean Startup’.

First proposed by Eric Ries in 2011, The Lean Startup is a methodology for developing businesses and products. It was created in Silicon Valley with software and tech focused businesses in mind, but the philosophy is arguably relevant across all industries.

In a nutshell it’s all about short development cycles, with a focus on ‘validated learning’. Translated into normal-speak that means releasing a product early and learning quickly from the feedback you get. Then releasing an improved version quickly and learning again. Rinse and repeat.

A core idea is that investors should be focusing on experience and validated learning as the main success metric for a startup. Especially when it has been acquired by making mistakes. I think there’s a lot of merit in that.

The philosophy has it’s roots in an older production practice called ‘Lean Manufacturing‘ – which itself has it’s roots in the Toyota Production System (TPS). So it’s not an entirely new idea, but it is very relevant in today’s fast-moving business environment.

This quote from Tim O’Reilly (CEO of O’Reilly Media) sums it up pretty well:

“The Lean Startup isn’t just about how to create a more successful entrepreneurial business, it’s about what we can learn from those businesses to improve virtually everything we do. I imagine Lean Startup principles applied to government programs, to healthcare, and to solving the world’s great problems. It’s ultimately an answer to the question: How can we learn more quickly what works, and discard what doesn’t?”

If you’re a startup or you’re launching a new product or service, have a look and see if the ideas apply to your business.

Julian

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