How the Lean Startup Can Help You Reduce the Risk in Innovation

July 28, 2021

Nicholas Lee
Senior Creative Designer

Last month we introduced three new ways of working that you can use to solve your clients' business problems. In part two of this six-part series we’re looking at the Lean Startup in more detail: what it is, why it is relevant to you, and its advantages.

What is the Lean Startup?

The Lean Startup is an iterative process used for developing products or services based on what people want. The Lean Startup values experimentation, consumer feedback, and iterative design. It prioritizes speed, aims to eliminate any unknown factors in product or service development, test assumptions, and shorten development cycles. This is done by rapidly testing solutions, getting feedback on them by measuring their performance, and improving them based upon the feedback received.

Why is the Lean Startup relevant to you?

  1. It plays to market researchers’ strengths
    Market research explores, tests, and identifies consumers’ needs and pain points. The Lean Startup works like this too, by continuously testing solutions and applying learnings to better them. Customer interaction and feedback are crucial, as this provides insights into what improvements must be made.
  2. It helps market researchers play a part in innovation for businesses
    The Lean Startup is geared towards NPD (new product development). This means it can help you by testing prototypes and using consumer feedback to optimise them. In doing so, this reduces the chance of a new product failing when it’s launched.

The key values to the Lean startup are:

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The Lean Startup framework works on the Build–Measure–Learn loop. This loop is a learning cycle that involves building ideas quickly into rudimentary products, measuring customers’ reactions, and improving the production in three key stages:

  1. Build: Start by creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – a cheap and rudimentary version of the actual product or a prototype, which will be used in market testing.

    Why? By building a minimum viable product,  you can quickly test your product and fail fast early on. Failing with an MVP is significantly cheaper than a real product failing.
  2. Measure: Once you have an MVP or prototype, the next step is to test with consumers. This is where market researchers thrive, by using methods such as surveys, data analytics, interviews, and focus groups to gain consumer feedback and insight.

    This feedback and insights are needed to improve the next iteration of your product.
  3. Learn: Once you’ve identified what works and what fails in the market you need to improve the product by eliminating pitfalls and leveraging areas of success.

    This ensures that your new product meets the market’s expectations.

The Lean Startup has three main advantages:

  1. Eliminating uncertainty: The Lean Startup is more than learning fast and failing cheap. It allows you to de-risk your product quickly and reduce financial loss. This allows market researchers to help companies to develop confidence in their business ideas before turning them into products or services.
  2. Validated learnings: This feedback-focused development process enables you to focus your resources in the right places. This increases productivity and allows you to see if the product is viable before investing more time and money into it.
  3. Systematic approach for innovation: This systematic approach requires fast thinking and action to make for a simple yet efficient model of working.

Next month…

We’ll discuss how combining the Lean Startup and Design Thinking can benefit market researchers.

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