Innovation has always be seen as a myth, where genius is the main ingredient for it. Unfortunately this is not the reality!
Innovation can be a systematic process. The key to successful innovations is to understand where the process starts. The process starts by first understanding the current needs, the current obstacles the target audience want to overcome and then formulating insights that can guide the thinking about potential solutions.
This is against to what most of us think and do today, where we try to provide solutions without understanding the real problems. So, probably by passion, we try to jump to a future that we envision for our customers without involving them or trying to understand what are there needs.
The argument can be raised that “Customers don’t know what they want” as Steve Jobs said or following what Henry Ford said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. This can be partially true when it comes to what customers express literally, but the key takeaway from this is to see what customers don’t see by sensing, observing and noticing the signals than predict the future like “faster” (but not the horses) in Henry Ford quote.
Design Thinking: a means for innovation!
Design Thinking is a mindset and methodology to help businesses in problem solving, finding possibilities and securing innovations that are desirables by humans at first, viable as business offering second and finally feasible as an implementation.
The Day starts with Lean Market Entry Lecture by Ollasundell CEO of Hub Helsinki. LeanThinking being the agenda of the day everything around was supposed to be Lean. Lean methodology is what I have learnt after being part of this service design industry. This topic has been one of my personal favorites. Lean is a unique concept used in these days young entrepreneur for creating andmanaging their product or business.
The lecture started with discussion about lean methodology principle / Lean Thinking –There is certain mindset that we have to adaptadapt for being in lean like instead of focusing on single processes or technology we should focus on the entire organization as a flow to your customer or process. Focusing on the problem rather than on the solution when planning for a product or service. And build your product to lean maximum out of it. The first and foremost step to adapt to lean is that before you start analyzing your system, it’s always necessary to determine what you customer is exactly looking for and this is what it called identifying value for the customer and then building the product .
“Focus on the problem, not solution. You cannot quantify your way to the big max.” – Ola Sundell
I still remember when ‘lean’ was a buzzword in manufacturing industry years and years ago. Lean concept was originally based on production process optimisation principles invented in Toyota for automotive industry back in early seventies. Now the idea of lean has been turned into a workable philosophy in general management and other business arenas. Some time ago I was listening Ola Sundell, the CEO of Hub Helsinki, telling about the logic behind the lean market strategy. He gave a presentation in Laurea University of Applied Science based on the ideas of lean startup as an innovation method developed by Steve Blank and Eric Ries and his own experiences as lean entrepreneur.
Ola Sundell is explaining the essence of lean philosophy.
‘Lean’ is maximising value and minimising waste
The lean business culture have been evolving since view years aiming at solving business problems in the early phase of business set-up by using a service design approach. According to Sundell the startups mostly fail due lack of market and customers or because of a wrong mindset. Now lean thinking is challenging the old ways of thinking and doing. Lean startup methodology has evolved from customer development method highlighting the lean aspects of both product/service design and customer development. It focuses on customer value creation: everything that does not provide value for customer is considered as waste. By using lean startup methodology it is possible to maximise value and minimise waste.
As startups are considered being temporary project organisations creating new products and services under extreme uncertainty, it is learning that matters – and learning fast.
The process applied in lean startup methodology is based on a build-measure-learn cycle with six steps: What is built it based on a problem or solution hypothesis. Testing the idea is the intended learning step requiring the testing metrics to be defined. For generating metrics and testing hypothesis, the experiment has to be built.
Ola Sundell, CEO of Hub Helsinki, introduced lean startup practices for SID students in November 2013 and gave a few hands-on tips and advices on how to increase your odds on building a successful business. Ola Sundell’s message for startup entrepreneurs was to build the minimum to learn the maximum and hit the markets as early as possible. This can be achieved by following Lean thinking and Lean startup practices.
Ola Sundell explained to us that on today’s markets good ideas alone don’t matter anymore. It’s all about creating value for your customers by solving their problems. If you want to be a successful startup you have to concentrate on entering the markets fast and finding your customers.
“If there aren’t a market for you, you have to fail. And you have to fail fast!”
– Ola Sundell
The term lean was first introduced by a research team headed by Jim Womack, Ph.D., at MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program to describe Toyota’s business during the late 1980s. Toyota’s production system (TPS) is well-known for its focus on reduction of the original Toyota “seven wastes” to improve overall customer value. Since the lean thinking is based on lean manner of manufacturing has caused some to think that lean thinking can’t be utilized with product or service development but isn’t true. Lean thinking can be adopted into any type of business or process.
On 10 November 2013, Ola Sundell, CEO of Hub Helsinki, talked at Laurea University of Applied Sciences about one of the hottest topics of service design today: the concept of lean thinking. The basic idea of lean thinking is to produce maximum value to the customer with minimum waste. Ola gave us some guidelines on how to build up a start-up company by using this new approach.
Lean market entry and innovation paradigm change
In lean innovation the key to success is to find the right markets with the help of customers. The best way to enter the market is to start working with innovators and early adapters. Instead of expensive marketing campaigns, you can validate your ideas by using innovators and early adapters as a runway to the market. Ola Sundell even advised us to forget the open innovation paradigm where the keys to success are new ideas flowing in and out of the companies. Ideas are worth nothing if they aren’t selling.
A lean launch is a new way to enter the markets. In contrast to the traditional waterfall model, where you have different development phases from concept, development and testing to launching, lean launch means that you enter the markets right away with your product idea, targeting the customer with a minimum viable product.
Customer development methods – Learning is the core!