"The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries
I've read the book "Scrum" recently, and it's truly amazing the ideas behind this project management process to avoid waste. People working with multidisciplinary teams so they can cross ideas and information faster and dividing the whole project into small sprints so you can test really quickly if you are going to the right direction make the process much faster and more sustainable. And this last book I've read "The Lean Startup" applies these same principles into business model.
Eric Ries describes a “startup" as "a human institution designed to create new products and services under extreme uncertainly conditions”. He came with this concept from the lean production of Toyota, adapting into entrepreneurship the idea of using the knowledge and creativity of every employee, reducing the lot size, "just in time” production, stock control and acceleration of cycle time. As the manufacture progress is measured by quality of production of physical products, the lean startup progress is measured by validated learning. All the process is made to make the cycle of learning faster, so people can make mistakes earlier so they can correct or change the directional of the product or the business as soon as possible. As Ries says, while beginning last century the question was "this can be constructed?", the question of our time is "this must be constructed?". Therefore, we always have to be validating if what we are creating is attending the user's needs and expectations.
During my graduation in Design, I saw a lot of innovative ideas of products and services developed by students. We've learned how to understand the problems and necessities of people through the design process and design solutions that can really make social impact. However I've always missed the fact of how we could transform in reality all those projects, and the lean startup is the answer in how we could generate a business model to test and refine our ideas until a really viable solution. Combine the two processes together is the key to generate and implement a sustainable idea.
It's important to realise that startups can be created in any environment. Anyone who is creating something with uncertain conditions is an entrepreur, working alone in a small garage or inside a big company. Nowadays, the world is changing so fast that is really difficult to predict or plan about anything. A lot of small startups are emerging everyday with different ideas and innovative products, and corporations which can adapt to these changes really quickly are the ones who survives. The challenge is how to transform big traditional corporations - like in the automotive industry - into this new perspective of business model so they can evolve at the same speed as the modern society. People from 50 years ago are not the same as the actual ones, and those companies need to transform the way they work so they can understand what are the real needs of people of today and implement real solutions fast as a small startup. And the key is to create a culture of innovation inside these big companies, making multidisciplinary teams creating solutions through the design process and allowing them - if the solution is a radical innovation - to generate a business model as a lean startup.
It's an essential reading for anyone who is creating a business or want to make viable an idea or a project. I highly recommend to read the book "Scrum" too, which applies these same principals to avoid waste into project management.