My interest in technology startups recently led me to an emerging methodology in the industry called the ‘lean startup’. I find this approach to high-tech entrepreneurship quite exciting because of the pervasive relevance of its principles. The ‘lean startup’ methodology is not only for technology entrepreneurs. Rather, it can be employed universally to enable individuals function effectively under situations of extreme uncertainty. Examples of such situations would include running a traditional mom and pop store, innovating at a fortune 500 company, or building a successful career.
The stable business environment of the past enabled businesses and individuals to practice strategic planning. They analyzed past data, obtained insights – which were used to create forecasts – and created a plan of action for the future. This plan was then implemented ruthlessly; with fingers crossed, and heads in the sand.
Today’s dynamic and highly unstable environment calls for a different paradigm. It calls for Individuals and businesses that rely less on forecasting and planning, and more on a bias for action and learning; it calls for individuals that are willing to go ‘lean’.
Key principles of the ‘lean’ methodology include:
- Create a minimum viable product, that contains only basic features (for your career, this could be your resume, or personal career pitch) .
- Release that product to your target market.
- Use customer feedback as a learning tool for improving your product.
- Iterate as fast as you can towards providing the product that your customers really want.
- Welcome failure as an opportunity for learning.
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