Lean Startup Machine
From University Innovation
The Lean Startup Machine, the world famous workshop and educational series on building successful business in three days, is globally available in all major cities, and features global partners such as Microsoft Ventures and Elance. This conslulting organization was founded in 2010, some of its reviews include:
"The Lean Startup Machine was a synthesis of a lot of my frustrations with how the companies I've worked for over the past few years have created products, and showed me that a much better way was possible. A hugely eye opening experience for me, and I had a blast working with really smart, energetic people."
"These type of events changed my life, it is amazing what a simple community push can do for you. Discover what you can do, and who you love doing it with."
The workshop lasts three days and teaches entrepreneurs and innovators how to build disruptive products. By definition, a disruptive product is a product so superior to the earlier technology that it displaces it (e.g. CDs replaced tape cassettes). Additionally, Lean Startup Machine is not a hackaton, meaning that it does not have a goal of developing superior software, but instead focuses on building ideas and centering businesses around the problem-centric approach and team work.
The workshop kicks off with a series of product pitches that help attendees organize into teams. Everyone works on a NEW idea. Each team then develops its problem hypothesis, solution hypothesis and a series of assumptions which are core to the success of the business. Next, each team creates an MVP, or "Minimum Viable Product." The goal of the MVP test is to "Get Out Of the Building," speak with real customers and to collect cash or non-cash currency which serves as validation.
The process promotes a problem-centric approach to business ideation. By continuously validating and invalidating assumptions, teams are forced to pivot their solution (and even problem) toward a true customer pain; rather than creating a solution and after-the-fact seeking customers with a problem.
The event culminates with each team pitching its new solutions and its experience using the process. In this competition the winning team is not selected based on who has the best idea, but instead on which team honors the process and gains the most insights through its pivots.
Distinct Differences From Other Offerings
SWOT approach can be used to analyze this offering. With this in mind, strenghts, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are analyzed.
Strenghts of the program feature the fact that the program not only offers help in building up a business into a strategic and efficient entity, but simulataneously provides training in product development and design thinking that takes a customer hypothesis, turns it into problem hypothesis, and arrives at the solution hypothesis. This starting process is then repeated for 1st Pivot, 2nd Pivot, etc. After performing design experiments, the goal is to arrive at validated and/or invalidated results.
Weaknesses of the program are not apparent, but the weaknesses of their website and staff are apparent. The website assumes that its audience has some minor background in business. Coming from a different field of expertise, this poses a challenge for companies that don't necessarily have business representatives. This is by no means a good thing, particularly when combined with the fact that upon requesting their offered materials, they have not sent them to me at all. Dealing solely with the concise information on the website, the program is not as clear as it could be with a few minor improvements.
Opportunities that may improve this resource would be excellent customer support, improving the ease of access to information on the organization, such as providing accessible and available email addresses or email contact forms, transcribing their Validation Board (see bottom of the section) into a verbalized set of steps, while not revealing full details of the program, with the purposes of still maintaing customer interest in them.
Threats that may arrise would be any potential government bills, larger consulting companies that are more renowned, competition that is available on the consulting market (such as more competitive offerings in terms of quality, approach, and cost).
Impact Achieved For Students and Campus
There are fewer documented cases of working with students, although the organization lists itself as educational. If brought to a college campus, this program would allow students, faculty, and staff to get trained in Lean Startup, i.e. it would provide business-oriented entrepreneurial training and lead non-business students to get a glimpse into what it takes to develop a successful business upon startup, and how to approach product or service improvement in oder to make their business disruptive, and thus infinitely competitive.
For faculty and staff members, the goal of a Lean Startup training would be improving the competitiveness of certain aspects of an educational ecosystem. This could mean that using Lean Startup Machine entrepreneurial techniques, the team of university employees would be trained in how to improve and innovate their approach to the university product - education. By innovating a learning environment, and reflecting on the university's SWOT landscape, the university is able to improve bottom-up, by first improving the teaching methods, educational and design spaces, and the performance of their students. Ultimately, this should serve to attract even more competitive students to attend this particular institution, which will in turn have even better methods for shaping them into outstanding individuals.
Steps Required To Bring Resource to Campus
Lean Startup Machine training is offered in all major cities, and offers particular student discounts. In order to organize a program on a college campus, one should follow these steps:
1. Unlock Your City: Each city must log a certain number of votes to be unlocked. Check out www.leanstartupmachine.com to find your city and see where your progress is. Cities range from 150-250 votes depending on size. Union College, specifically, would have to reach out to businesses local to Schenectady, NY and team up with them in an attempt to bring in an LSM workshop.
2. Register on the website to obtain access to full information, including program descriptions, recommendations, and details, as well as access to the organization's blog.
3 Get Some Help: Here is where local businesses kick in. LSM requires five media partners, and six 'evangelists' to spread the word that Lean Startup Machine is coming to your city!
4. Organizer(s) Chosen: After a city receives that number of unlocks then an organizer is selected from the “Lead Evangelists: to make the event possible. In this case the Laad Evangelist would be Union College.
5. Select Date: LSM works with you to select a date once previous steps are complete.
6. Perks: LSM rewards their event organizers by returning 20% of the profits to the organizer in the city. With LSM's fondness for educational institutions, a university is nearly always guaranteed even higher percent, and special discounts upon appropriate communication.
7. Deadlines: LSM works with you to set key deadlines for getting tickets out the door to ensure the best event possible.
8. Qualify Mentors & Speakers: You’ll need mentors and speakers to help have a great event. LSM's newly designed curriculum will help you assess mentors and speakers, and make sure they’re top tier for the event. LSM promises to source experts from their global network.
9. Convinced? Fill out this form and Lean Startup Machine will be in touch: http://bit.ly/OrganizeLSM
Unlock your city: https://www.leanstartupmachine.com/
Enterprise Consulting: https://www.leanstartupmachine.com/enterprise-lean-startup
For further inquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trevor Owens, CEO and Founder. Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/owenstrevor