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"Survival is not about being fearless. It's about making a decision, getting on and doing it, because I want to see my kids again, or whatever it is," once noted by Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. This sentiment of survival and adaptation is now being embedded into the business world through the concept of "Lean Startup".




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Flevy Management Insights: Lean Startup


"Survival is not about being fearless. It's about making a decision, getting on and doing it, because I want to see my kids again, or whatever it is," once noted by Sir Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group. This sentiment of survival and adaptation is now being embedded into the business world through the concept of "Lean Startup".

Lean Startup, first pioneered by Eric Ries, is a method for developing businesses and products aimed at shortening product development cycles. The approach advocates the creation of rapid prototypes designed to test market assumptions, and uses customer feedback to evolve them much faster than more traditional product development practices. In a volatile business environment, Lean Startup offers Strategic Management a solution to reduce the risk of complete failure and allows business to adjust their strategies quickly and efficiently.

The Key Principles of Lean Startup

Three core principles underpin a Lean Startup approach. These are: Build-Measure-Learn, Minimum Viable Product, and Continuous Deployment.

Lean Startup in Fortune 500 Companies

Despite being traditionally associated with small start-ups, Lean Startup practices are increasingly being adopted by Fortune 500 companies. A McKinsey report estimated that about 27% of senior executives state that their companies are actually implementing these processes to accelerate innovation.

Fortune 500 companies are known for their risk management capabilities. However, with customer needs and preferences changing more rapidly than ever, the traditional “wait and see” approach to investment can lead to missed market opportunities. Within this context, the Lean Startup methodology can help senior executives test and validate ideas faster, reduce market risk, increase efficiency, and improve their Change Management process.

Best Practices When Implementing Lean Startup

Adopting the Lean Startup methodology for Strategic Management requires rethinking some entrenched practices and habits. Here are some best practices encouraged by industry leaders:

  1. Ship Early and Often: Avoid perfectionism and focus on releasing the MVP as quickly as possible to get feedback from real customers. Apply Continuous Deployment to ensure regular, incremental improvements.
  2. Embrace Failure: Encourage a culture where failure is viewed as an opportunity to learn, not a personal defeat. It is a fundamental element in Lean Startup, as it typically leads to better solutions and innovations.
  3. Customer Oriented: A Lean Startup must be customer-centric in order to develop impactful solutions. Doing so requires robust customer interaction and feedback loops.
  4. Build Cross-Functional Teams: Success with Lean Startup requires teams that can operate across traditional silos. This promotes knowledge sharing and reduces bottlenecks in the innovation process.

Traditional approaches to Strategic Planning and Management, while still relevant, often fail to keep pace with the dynamic shifts defining the present business landscape. Lean Startup methodology infuses agility and adaptability within an organization's strategic planning and innovation processes. By leveraging its principles, Fortune 500 companies can reduce risk, increase efficiency, streamline innovation, and robustly navigate ever-changing market conditions.

For effective implementation, take a look at these Lean Startup best practices:


Explore related management topics: Change Management Strategic Planning Risk Management Best Practices Process Improvement Lean Continuous Improvement Waste Elimination Robotic Process Automation Process Analysis and Design




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