What’s all this fuss about Lean Innovation? By Justin Souter

Introduction

Lean Methodology, Lean Startup, Lean Innovation? What is all the fuss about?

Lean Methodology is continuous improvement as practiced in car plants, the healthcare sector, and many other locations. It’s about incremental gains, repeated over and over.

Lean Startup is a best practice approach to support and guide Founders and entrepreneurs to experiment their way to success.

‘Lean Innovation’ is adapting the iterative nature of Lean Startup to support innovators in established organisations more effectively bring breakthrough products and services to market.

The Challenge

I’ve worked in global BigCo’s, startups, and with scores of Founders and entrepreneurs. What seems a common issue is that executives used to optimising existing businesses struggle when creating something really new.

Lean Innovation can help give enough structure to both the innovators and executives, and has reached sufficient maturity to provide governance and results for the C Suite.

Successful roll-outs in General Electric, Pearson, Intuit, US local Government, the US Digital Service, and Procter & Gamble bear testament to the growing acceptance of this approach.

The Opportunity

There are a number of ways to embed a culture and practice of Lean Innovation in your organisation. Some adopt it wholesale, and train all staff in varying degrees. FastWorks at GE is used in diesel power-generating sets; router products, and train engines.

If you’re struggled to understand why your attempts at breakthrough innovation aren’t working, I understand. As an MBA and a veteran of large organisations, much of the inertia you will know about already.

Lean Innovation is a way of finding market traction as early as possible, co-creating products and services with early adopters, and measuring progress in new ways.

Next steps

Much of the Lean Startup framework seems like common sense. The issue is that it isn’t common practice. Traditional executives want certainty, forward-facing cashflow forecasts, and a ‘sure thing’.

Companies like Amazon instead have made it safe to fail: therefore employees try new things, and hence new engines of growth such as Amazon Web Services which reported coming in at $12.2 billion, with $3.1 billion in operating income profit.

“Things are going well thanks. We are using the business model canvas and customer validation boards and finding them very useful.” – a corporate customer of ours

Get in touch now to explore now how you too can start your own experiments, grapple with culture and measurement challenges, and run breakthrough innovation alongside the day-to-day continuous improvements. Keep existing customers happy, and create customer of the future at the same time.