Lean Startup Co. is Teaching Companies to Fish

“Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

As the world accelerates toward the iconic year of 2020, I’d like to hit pause for a moment to talk about the future. Two out of three C-Suite execs agree that around 40% of the Fortune 500 companies thriving today will not exist by 2030, primarily due to digital disruption. The average lifespan of the largest companies has shrunk down to just 20 years, compared to the 60-year lifespan of just a few decades ago. Given this churn, what have we learned about the difference between the winners and the losers in the race for longevity? To answer that I’d like to share the story of where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

“Two out of three C-Suite execs agree that around 40% of the Fortune 500 companies thriving today will not exist by 2030, primarily due to digital disruption.” [email protected]_heather Click To Tweet

When Eric Ries and I launched the Lean Startup Co. in March 2015, we swore we would spread this message: Stop Wasting People’s Time. It wasn’t quite that simple. Many organizations are bound up by outdated inefficiencies. From large enterprises to NGOs, and startups to non-profits, we found people building things that don’t solve problems. We applied Lean Startup thinking to test our vision of helping organizations work more efficiently. The outcome would be to help these enterprises learn how to solve real problems.

From that seed grew the mission of our company which is:

In a world full of uncertainty, we empower organizations of all sizes and sectors to leverage the power of entrepreneurship to transform themselves. Our tools and framework allow them to generate the impact, outcomes, learning and mindset necessary to survive in a fast-moving world.

We want to provide innovators everywhere with a framework specifically designed to handle 21st century uncertainty. The Lean Startup methodology can help any organization, of any size and complexity, become more rigorous in the entrepreneurial and innovative portions of their portfolios. Innovation is decentralized and unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be managed efficiently and productively to reduce risk. That’s what it really means to not waste people’s time.  

We began with webcasts, podcasts, blog posts, meetups, and, of course, our annual conference. As we grew, our customers, which were primarily startups, began to include large enterprise companies and government agencies.

“As our customers gained more exposure to the LS methods, we starting hearing this question more often: How can the method be applied to my complex, legacy organization?” [email protected]_heather Click To Tweet

In order to address that trending question, our Lean Startup Education Team began offering consulting and custom education tailored to the needs and goals of whatever organization comes to us for support. Our message and approach have resonated with clients like IKEA, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Dept of Defense, Zappos, Target, Adobe, Caterpillar, British intelligence agencies, the International Monetary Fund, Independent Sector and more. They come from just about every industry, including financial services, insurance, hardware, healthcare, government, technology, automotive, aviation, energy, education and industries that are just now being born. Our goal is to help them deliver  impact and measure results.

It’s a persistent myth that Lean Startup is about cutting costs and cutting employees. The Lean Startup method is not about being cheap, it’s about being fast. It’s about learning what your internal and external customers really want, and testing that vision continuously before it’s too late.

Here are a few snapshots of what we have helped companies achieve recently:

  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) is a government agency responsible for military combat support. With the guidance of Lean Startup Co. Faculty, an NGA team developed an intelligence briefing tool for the Pentagon that reduced the daily completion time for a five-person team from 13-18 hours to less than 30 minutes. It also saved the team $200K per week.
  • At LegalZoom, Lean Startup Co. worked with executive leadership to build and foster a culture of experimentation company-wide. LegalZoom now runs at least 200 experiments every year to drive growth and new value streams.
  • At a large insurance agency, we worked closely with teams to run safe experiments in a highly regulated industry, using only six percent of their allocated budget, to find a new revenue stream in their market.
“It’s a persistent myth that Lean Startup is about cutting costs and cutting employees. The Lean Startup method is not about being cheap, it’s about being fast.” [email protected]_heather Click To Tweet

The Future of the Lean Startup is all About… You.

As the world changes around us, we’re here to support your operations and show you how to create better business outcomes far into the future. It’s not about “lean manufacturing” — though that’s also a great story and you can read about it on Toyota’s website. It’s not about cutting to the bone. You can read about 57 companies that cut too deep, and cut their way right into bankruptcy. The Lean Startup methodology is about reducing risk, solving customer problems and doing it in the most efficient way possible. It’s about giving all of us more time to do what’s really important in our lives.

We want you to join us on that mission in 2019, and kick off the next decade with a leaner, more meaningful, more sustainable world.

It’s nice to meet you. What do you care most about? Let us know and drop us a note at: [email protected]

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