Lean startup learning cycle

More on catalyzing innovation: When people get into flow, as Csikszentmihalyi describes it, they lose sense of time. This is good for creativity and innovation, to an extent. In the absence of feedback, they may misunderstand what I want, and spend way too long on something I don’t value (thus over valuing their idea, aka, the Ikea effect). When I play the game, I encourage the Ikea effect by giving reasons every time I, the buyer / collector, purchase a snowflake. I give this feedback quietly, though, so only the people standing right next to me can hear. This creates an interesting dynamic in the room, which highly adaptive teams exploit by sending up a sales person to listen to every word I say, with a delivery person dedicated to carrying snowflakes up to the sales person and information back to the table.  When I play the role of the buyer/collector, I imagine I’m a wealthy art collector, and I buy accordingly. I want pieces of extraordinary beauty, craftsmanship, and individuality. I pay only a dollar for anything in the first round, and almost rudely ignore anything that doesn’t seem good enough to be collectable. I organize the snowflakes I buy in order of value, left to right, so that between rounds I can show curious people what I want/like (see pictures). I also leave some items out of my collection on purpose. For example, anything with writing on it, and anything with lots of problems of symmetry. Snowflakes made out of partial sheets of paper are also likely to go on a pile. Meanwhile, I’m saying something like “oh, that’s the first time today someone gave me an autographed snowflake, so I’ll buy it just this once, but snow flakes are white!” then I secretly tuck it away into the reject pile. This teaches them to continue to be bold and creative; after two rounds I start asking the class what it will take to make a $5 (or five Euro) flake. I point to a few items in my collection, naming the price, so they get a better idea, but I never tell them exactly what to do. This makes room for lots of creativity.

The Value Proposition Designer Canvas (VP Designer Canvas) allows you to zoom into the details of your Value Proposition and the Customer Segments you target. You can use it as a poster (cf image below) to design better Value Propositions with sticky notes. However, to make sure your customers really want what you design, you'll need to test all the assumptions you make with the VP Designer Canvas.

We already now know how to do this kind of designing and testing for business models: by combining the Business Model Canvas with the Customer Development process. Steve Blank has impressively demonstrated this in his work .

One of the healthy ways towards integral architecture is refactoring . As more features are added to the original code base, the harder it becomes to add further improvements. Refactoring is about keeping simplicity, clarity, minimum number of features in the code. Repetitions in the code are signs of bad code designs and should be avoided. The complete and automated building process should be accompanied by a complete and automated suite of developer and customer tests, having the same versioning, synchronization and semantics as the current state of the System. At the end the integrity should be verified with thorough testing, thus ensuring the System does what the customer expects it to. Automated tests are also considered part of the production process, and therefore if they do not add value they should be considered waste. Automated testing should not be a goal, but rather a means to an end, specifically the reduction of defects.

Lean startup learning cycle

lean startup learning cycle

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