Word of the month: lean start-up

January 3, 2019

Word of the month is a new series in The Hive where we present concepts or technologies that are meaningful to the work we do

Lean start-up is a method to initiate an activity, for example, a ‘start-up’ or launching an offer. The goal is to design products and services that will meet consumer demand as closely as possible, with a minimum initial investment. Inspired by the lean methods of companies in Silicon Valley, and designed by Eric Ries, this approach is now highly successful all over the world.

This iterative approach has a three-step cycle:

1. First, there is an idea. This idea is used to BUILD a product ‘draft’ – a model, for example.

2. Pilot users try out this product ‘draft’, so that its use can be MEASURED and feedback collected.

3. The data obtained allows us to LEARN and to validate theories.

What we learn generates a new idea, and the cycle starts again. The more you build, the more you learn!


The many advantage of this method

Lean start-up is interesting because it reduces time to market for a product or service offer, and improves this offer based on observed use and user feedback. Working with a community of users also quickly guarantees that we will build an offer that is in line with their vision, and not ours. The offer will therefore be more robust, more relevant, and easier to understand, with a clear perception of its value. The method should not be simply used once, to create a product or a service, but on a permanent basis. It helps products and services exist and evolve as closely as possible to the needs of customers. Since 2017 the lean start-up methodology has been used to develop our cloud offering. 


How does it differ from design thinking?

Lean start-up is essentially a sub-set – the test phase – of design thinking. Both are iterative and user-centric processes that can easily combine. Used upstream, design thinking asks users to visualize the future, to imagine what the solution could be, gathering qualitative feedback in the process. By relying more on data, the lean start-up method obtains more quantitative feedback.


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