Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Start-Ups Can Teach Big Companies - Bits Blog -

What Start-Ups Can Teach Big Companies - Bits Blog -

My Sunday column, “The Rise of the Fleet-Footed Start-Up,” looks at a concept called the “lean start-up.”

The lean start-up model exploits the inexpensive, nimble technologies of open-source software and the Web to accelerate the pace of testing new ideas, finding customers and learning from mistakes, through constant trial and error.

“A start-up,” explains Steven Blank, a lean start-up advocate, “is a temporary organization designed to discover a profitable, scalable business model.”

But there are certainly big-company activities that would fit that description as well. Any business development or strategy team working to come up with a potentially disruptive new product, service or process would qualify.

“If you are in an environment of extreme uncertainty, you are an entrepreneur,” says Eric Ries, who coined the term lean start-up.

The lean start-up process, like every idea in business, is derivative of what has come before. The methodology, for example, includes large ingredients of “rapid prototyping,” a concept popularized a decade ago by Michael Schrage, an innovation researcher and author.

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