Chapter FiveLessons from The Lean Startup

Now that you have a potential solution for your problem, remember that it is only the starting point, or the 1% inspiration. What comes next is the core of innovation – the 99% perspiration that turns a theoretical concept into cold, hard results through experimentation and learning. This book builds upon the process for continuous innovation introduced by Eric Ries in The Lean Startup,1 which has helped companies “create long‐term growth and results.”

Lean Startup itself builds on the precepts of lean manufacturing pioneered by Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo at Toyota, which eliminates waste by empowering workers, accelerating cycle times, and delivering inventory just in time. Eric’s work was also heavily influenced by his mentor Steve Blank, whose Customer Development methodology is described in The Four Steps to the Epiphany.2

Before we dive into how we can employ these same techniques to deliver results in the form of social impact rather than profits in Part II of this book, let’s review the five basic building blocks of Lean Startup. We’ll explore each in a mission‐driven context and refer to them throughout the rest of the book.

  1. Identify assumptions. What must go right for your solution to work, and what could possibly go wrong?
  2. Build a minimum viable product, or MVP. Run one or more experiments to test the riskiest assumptions as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
  3. Use validated learning. Gather data from your MVP and compare ...

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