I had the privilege to attend the Lean IT Summit in Paris a week ago, and was pleased to hear “The Lean Startup” mentioned in almost half of the talks. Actually, the Lean Startup is so popular that some are getting annoyed :) I co-wrote the preface of the French edition because I am a strong believer in the principles that Eric Ries explains in his book. However, with popularity comes exaggeration and re-interpretation. Here are two things I heard during the lean IT summit that got me annoyed as well:
- The Lean Startup is what the lean community has expressed for a long time, with better words. Kudos to Eric Ries for being such a great communicator !
- The Lean Startup is a lean reformulation of well-known innovation practices. Actually, innovation is in the genes of lean manufacturing, so no surprise there !
- The Lean Startup is not a book about lean, it’s a book about innovation, mostly startups but which is also relevant for larger companies, which is why I am such a strong advocate. After writing part of the preface, I ordered many dozens of the book which I have distributed freely in my own company. Sure, the lean framework gives a lot of sense to the overall contribution, but this is not the point.
- Although many of the key ideas have been around for a while, the combination of these principles into a well-defined innovation process is a true contribution. It definitely goes against what most people believed to be innovation in larger companies. I had heard Eric Ries’s ideas expressed by a few VC from Silicon Valley, but they were anything but mainstream.
(a) Innovation is about doing, not about producing ideas
(b) Innovation requires iteration since nobody gets it right the first time.
(c) A successful business model is built iteratively using customers’ feedbacks.