Lean Startup

The approach that no business plan survives first contact with customers was introduced by Steve Blank. In its many years of experience as an entrepreneur, he started to develop the concept of obtaining detailed customer feedback at a very early stage in order to carefully validate his business model assumptions before making larger investments.

Eric Ries called this concept “Lean Startup” and developed it further. Initially, all elements of a new business model or a new product are classified as hypotheses.

Then, all business-critical hypotheses are reviewed systematically – one after the other.

This review involves designing an experiment for each assumption that allows to determine whether we were right or wrong.

The first experiments related to the customer’s problem that you want to rectify with your solution idea normally are interviews with potential customers. Before starting to test the solution idea, the responsible team within the organization interviews a sufficiently large sample from the intended customer segment so that it is able to verify that the problem exists. This alternating process of executing the experiment, measuring the results and interpreting the outcome is called Build–Measure–Learn cycle.

For testing the solution idea, the suitable distribution channel and the potential customers’ willingness to pay, the Lean Startup method provides a number of possible experimental set-ups that extend far beyond conducting simple customer interviews.

The Lean Startup method requires a constant willingness to learn from the market and from customer feedback and, if need be, to be able to deviate from the original idea. This can be quite challenging in some cases, but it also ensures that financial risks arising from backing the wrong horse can be reduced significantly, while the success potential is improved.


The upshot is that the Lean Startup method – if applied rigorously – helps to gradually develop the solution idea that addresses the customer’s problem and represents an adequate solution for his problem from the customer’s perspective.

In doing so, the product is developed together with the customer or at least in close cooperation with the customer.

Andrea SchmittInnovationstrainerinAm Mittelpfad 24aD 65520 Bad Camberg+49 64 34-905 997+49 175 5196446
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