50 Resources for Building a Lean Innovation Foundation: Lean Startup, Sprint and Beyond

September 30th, 2017

Bigco leaders who want to stay relevant in an increasingly turbulent market are faced with a choice: to rely on the same old processes to drive innovation and growth, or to fully jump into entrepreneurial methods that embrace uncertainty and change. If you’re looking to jumpstart that entrepreneurial path forward, you’re in the right place. Our team at The Garage Group recently reflected on and captured 50 resources to guide you and your team through understanding what Lean Innovation is and how your organization can begin to adopt it.

Definitely spend some time reading and reflecting on the list we’ve assembled, but note that the real learning comes from when you roll up your sleeves and hustle to start applying these approaches to your tough innovation and growth challenges. And, as you’ll find, Lean Innovation isn’t reserved for Startups, and isn’t limited to new product or venture development. Rather, Lean Innovation has a scope that can be applied to every aspect of your business, providing every function in your organization with the skills to work smarter, quicker, and more disruptively.

 

FOUNDATION – UNDERSTAND THE APPROACHES BEHIND LEAN INNOVATION

1. THE LEAN STARTUP
Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup is a foundational read for understanding and implementing The Lean Startup methodology.

2. SPRINT
Developed by Google Ventures, Sprint shows leaders how to run a five day Design Sprint in order to quickly tackle elements of tough growth challenges.

3. VALUE PROPOSITION DESIGN
Value Proposition Design provides a helpful framework for identifying the root of consumer problems, and designing products and services to meet their needs.

4. TRACTION
With 19 potential user engagement channels and interviews with founders of companies such as Kayak and Wikipedia, Traction provides the resources and know-how to help your idea gain momentum and build a consumer base.

5. BUSINESS MODEL GENERATION
This comprehensive deep dive on the Business Model Canvas offers leaders the tools and strategies needed to challenge outdated business models or create new ones.

6. LEAN STARTUP IS DEAD – LONG LIVE LEAN STARTUP
This Forbes article tackles some of the misconceptions surrounding the Lean Startup methodology for a broader understanding of what it is, and how to use it.

7. LEAN INNOVATION: DESIGN THINKING MEETS LEAN STARTUP FOR THE ENTERPRISE
Forbes interview with Brant Cooper, author of The Lean Entrepreneur, provides a foundational understanding of Lean Innovation, and how it can manifest in corporations.

8. THE FATHER OF LEAN STARTUP THINKS YOU NEED TO START UP
An interview with Lean Startup author, Eric Ries, provides some background on the creation of Lean Startup, as well as gives leaders some advice on implementing The Lean Startup Methodology into their own work.

9. DON’T BUILD WHEN YOU BUILD, MEASURE, LEARN
This article from Strategyzer gives a quick guide on building MVP’s (Minimum Viable Products) in order to maximize learning and minimize risk when testing your idea’s critical assumptions.

10. OUR APPROACH TO INNOVATION IS DEAD WRONG
Author of All In Startup, Diana Kander gives an entertaining and compelling TEDx talk identifying the flaws in the current, outdated model of innovation and provides the steps companies of all sizes can take to pursue a leaner model.

11. A REFRESHER ON A/B TESTING
A/B Testing is a classic method to test two variants of something (like a Facebook Ad) in order to identify which is most successful, without investing loads of time, energy, or money. Here is a quick refresher on (or intro to) A/B Testing.

12. 4 TYPES OF PRODUCT RISK
Part of vetting an idea using Lean Thinking is making sure that the idea is viable in the market before investing loads of time, energy, and money. Erik Starck identifies the four questions you should ask before building a product.

 

MINDSET – WAYS TO START THINKING LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR

13. THE HUSTLE HANDBOOK: BIGCO SECRET TO SPEED, DISCOVERY, AND GRIT
Whether you’re a Bigco trying a startup-inspired approach, or a startup looking to take on new challenges, our Hustle Handbook guides you on the five behaviors critical to successful and disruptive innovation.

14. THE INNOVATOR’S DNA
The Innovator’s DNA explores how major companies like Google, Amazon, and Apple have become disruptive innovators, and the skills and mindsets required to do so in your own Bigco.

15. MATTHEW SYED – WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE YOUR OWN BLACK BOX
Matthew Syed’s TEDx talk touches on the growth mindset and the importance of establishing your own “Black Box,” in order to acknowledge failure, confront mistakes, and come up with solutions inside your organization.

16. MINDSET
In this book, psychologist Carol Dweck explains the power of having a fixed vs. growth mindset; that it’s not just our abilities or talent that makes us successful, but our mindset. This is a must-read for those who lead people, including parents, CEOs, supervisors, and teachers.

17. A LEAN STARTUP MINDSET IGNITES AMAZON-LIKE INNOVATION
Andy Cars, founder of Lean Ventures, details the benefits a Lean Startup mindset can have to an organization, and details a few ways that leaders can start thinking lean.

 

EMPATHY – BUILD EMPATHY TO CONNECT WITH CONSUMERS AND MEET THEIR NEEDS

18. JOBS TO BE DONE
A theory invented in the 70’s, Jobs To Be Done, by Anthony Ulwick, teaches leaders how to identify consumer wants and needs in order to design products, services, and businesses that meet those wants and needs.

19. JOBS TO BE DONE, THE SECRET SAUCE BEHIND GREAT IDEAS
For any successful company, big or small, understanding the consumer is critical. That’s why we focus on Jobs theory; it’s the key to developing ideas that solve real problems for consumers.

20. EMPATHY VS. SYMPATHY
Empathy is a key component of understanding your consumers wants and needs. This animated video of Dr. Brene Brown’s talk explains the differences between empathy and sympathy, and provides some quick tips on connecting with others.

21. 4 MISCONCEPTIONS ON JOBS TO BE DONE
From Experiencing Information, this article provides a foundation on what Jobs To Be Done theory is by tackling what Jobs To Be Done Theory isn’t.

22. SHERYL SANDBERG – THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHENTIC COMMUNICATION
In this video, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, touches on how to authentically communicate within the workplace, and explains how it promotes better, faster, and leaner decision making within an organization.

23. A SCRIPT TO KICKSTART YOUR JOBS TO BE DONE INTERVIEWS
Jobs To Be Done is a great tool for identifying consumer needs quickly and effectively. Here is a quick script to guide your consumer interviews and get the most out of them.

24. BUILD CUSTOMER EMPATHY BY LISTENING TO THEIR STORIES
Customers are the lifeblood of any company, and understanding your customer’s wants and needs is a key component of Lean Innovation. Here are some interview tips to help you gain valuable consumer insights.

 

APPLICATION – STEPS AND GUIDES TO INCORPORATE LEAN INNOVATION INTO YOUR ORGANIZATION

25. HOW TO BUILD A STARTUP
In this free online course, Steve Blank teaches leaders how to generate ideas and validate them through consumer feedback. This course is a step-by-step guide on how to jumpstart your idea and successfully act on it.

26. RUNNING LEAN
Ash Maurya’s book provides the tools and strategy needed to quickly and effectively generate, test, and execute winning ideas without wasting resources.

27. THE LEAN PRODUCT PLAYBOOK
This guide provides the process for effectively creating products consumers love via MVP prototyping, consumer feedback, and iterative market testing. The Lean Product Playbook takes Lean Innovation and directly applies it to product development.

28. 11 ENABLERS FOR SPRINT SUCCESS AGAINST INNOVATION AND GROWTH STRATEGY CHALLENGES
Check out this list of lessons learned from running Design Springs in Bigcos.

29. LEAN ANALYTICS
Authors Alistair Croll and Benjamin Yoskovits provide the steps for utilizing data to help your organization make leaner, smarter business decisions.

30. WHY MARK ZUCKERBERG RECENTLY WARNED ENTREPRENEURS AGAINST CHASING ‘EUREKA!’ MOMENTS
Sometimes, loads of resources will go into bringing an idea to market, only to realize that there is no need for it. Here are three quick ways to vet your idea before chasing it down the rabbit hole.

31. STARTUP OWNER’S MANUAL
This foundational book offers a comprehensive, step-by-step look into how to take an idea and turn it into a business. Targeted to entrepreneurs but applicable for any size company, this book is grounded in lean principles. Along with his book, check out Blank’s comprehensive list of Startup Tools.

32. THE INNOVATOR’S METHOD
Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer share an integrated framework (Design Thinking + Lean Startup and others) for quickly getting an idea all the way through the development pipeline and getting it to market.

33. HACKING GROWTH
Hacking Growth provides a foundational look at growth hacking, and provides instruction on how to implement it into your organization.

34. THE 6 PRINCIPLES OF A LEAN, MEAN, MARKETING STRATEGY
Lean Startup and Innovation methodologies apply to all scopes of a business. Here are six tips on applying Lean thinking to your marketing strategy.

35. HOW TO START A MOVEMENT
Lean Innovation is a movement, and it’s catching on. If you’re looking for some inspiration to start the Lean Innovation movement within your Bigco, Derek Sivers’ quick, 3-minute TED Talk might be the answer.

36. HOW TO LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
This article gives a quick guide on how to test your business assumptions in order to stay lean and conserve your resources for your top ideas.

 

CASES OF SUCCESS – SEE HOW OTHER BIGCO’S SUCCESSFULLY INCORPORATED LEAN INNOVATION INTO THEIR WORK, AND HOW YOU CAN TOO

37. PIVOT
In this video, Eric Ries, author of Lean Startup, explains what it means to pivot and provides examples of companies at a crossroads of failure and success that were able to pivot towards success.

38. THE BARRIERS BIG COMPANIES FACE WHEN THEY TRY TO ACT LIKE LEAN STARTUPS
This HBR article confronts the challenges that Bigco’s face, the benefits of adopting Lean Startup Practices, and how some companies have already made it happen within their organizations.

39. LEAN INNOVATION MANAGEMENT: MAKING CORPORATE INNOVATION WORK
Steve Blank provides a Lean Innovation POV on how to manage your Bigco’s innovation pipeline.

40. HOW BIG COMPANIES CAN INNOVATE
The heads of Intuit, Idealab, and Autodesk discuss how their businesses embraced innovation, and how other Bigco’s can do it too.

41. HOW GE BUILT AN INNOVATION LAB TO RAPIDLY PROTOTYPE APPLIANCES
HBR provides an inside look into how GE set up their innovation labs, and how it’s driven success.

42. RETHINKING LEAN STARTUP AT A BIG CORPORATE
Interview with Michael Nir, a Lean Startup coach, about his work with a major healthcare insurance provider in establishing Internal Startups and Lean Startup Methodology.

43. LEAN STARTUP METHODOLOGY INFOGRAPHIC
Check out this Innovation Excellence infographic of what the Lean Startup Methodology looks like, and how it can manifest in a business.

44. LEAN STARTUP COMES HOME
This Medium article details a Lean Startup approach Toyota took to pursue a potential growth opportunity for the company. Tons of practical examples and lessons learned.

45. THE TWO STRATEGIES COMPANIES SHOULD USE TO INNOVATE
Every company is different, therefore no two companies’ approaches to innovation will be the same. Here are two strategies to help shape your Lean Innovation approach.

46. THE GENIUS OF FRUGAL INNOVATION
Navi Radjou, based in Silicon Valley, details the benefits of Frugal Innovation – another term for Lean Innovation – in India, where resources are scant for many entrepreneurs. Radjou elaborates on the application of Frugal Innovation within larger corporations, and the success it brings.

 

GET OUT OF THE OFFICE – ENTREPRENEURIAL RESOURCES IN YOUR OWN NETWORK

47. LOCAL MEETUPS & EVENTS
Connect with local innovators and entrepreneurs to learn about their lessons learned. Check out local talks on innovation or entrepreneurship or on-going Meetups (Lean Startup Circle in your City!), and forge new contacts, or jump into a Startup Weekend and become an entrepreneur for a weekend.

48. LEAN STARTUP CONFERENCE
The Lean Startup Conference brings Lean Startup leaders and experts together to share best best practices, and tools for building Lean Innovation capability in your Bigco.

49. FIND PEOPLE TACKLING SIMILAR CHALLENGES
Look across your business, in your network, and for peers on LinkedIn who may be trying to build the same Lean Innovation capabilities as you. They’re creating new knowledge everyday, and you should be tapping into those experiences.

50. HUSTLE TO START
Spend time building a foundation with these concepts, but don’t stop there. Hustle to start applying as quickly as you can. That’s where the real muscle building starts to take place.

We hope these resources are helpful and inspiring as you and your team are on the way to building a strong, Lean Innovation foundation. As always, we’d love to learn more about your specific context and challenges, and can share how we can help accelerate your Lean Innovation capability development efforts. Let’s talk!

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