62 Startup-Inspired Resources, Thought Leaders & Approaches to Enable Bigco Lean Growth | The Garage Group

62 Startup-Inspired Resources, Thought Leaders & Approaches to Enable Bigco Lean Growth

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 growth, or to fully jump into entrepreneurial methods that embrace uncertainty and change.

Last year we published our 2017 edition of 50 Resources for Building a Lean Innovation Foundation, enabling teams and leaders to jumpstart that entrepreneurial path forward. We’d captured 50 resources to guide you and your team through understanding what Lean Innovation is and how your organization can begin to adopt it. It included startup favorites like Lean Startup and Sprint, and our favorite resources to guide teams working to apply tried and true theories like Jobs to be Done. 

Over the last year, the foundational resources have remained, but as thought leaders have come forth with new perspectives and new methodologies have emerged, it was time for an update. And as we release this 2018 list of 62 resources, we recognize the many challenges that Bigco leaders are facing as they not only work towards establishing that Lean Innovation foundation, but as they begin to push their organization towards continuous lean growth.

Follow us along the way as we share these resources weekly via social media, accompanied by more context and advice to get you started.

If you’re just getting started, definitely spend some time reading and reflecting on both this updated list along with the 2017 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.


There are some must-haves when it comes to practicing lean growth (i.e., Sprint, The Lean Startup, and Value Proposition Design). Beyond just the resources, there are also credible thought-leaders to follow. Here are a few of our favorites, as well as some resources they’ve created to help you in your lean growth journey.


1. The Lean Startup: This book is often referred to as the start to the Lean movement. If you haven’t yet read it, definitely start here.

2. The Startup Way: Ries’s newest book that takes the methods and ideas from The Lean Startup and applies them to businesses of all stages and sizes.

3. The Startup Way Book Talk: Eric Ries shares his experience working with Beth Comstock, Vice Chair of General Electric as they applied Learn Growth to a corporate company; a movement that changed the company in more ways than one

4. Lean Startup Co Podcast: A great way to stay up to date with the latest news for all things Lean Startup, even on the go. This podcast includes advice, but also success stories and lessons learned from those pursuing Lean Startup methods.

5. Lean Startup Co BlogFollow the main thought-leader of the lean movement for guidance in your own journey, including how to seamlessly integrate Lean Startup into your every day work flow.


6. Running LeanThis book provides systematic guidance on quickly vetting products and ideas to ensure the most efficient process is followed for lean growth

7. Scaling LeanA follow-up to his first book, Running Lean, this book takes it a step further and shows readers how to continue growth past the first stage of the product idea

8. Ash Maurya Facebook Live with TGG“What I’m focused on these days is this notion of loving the problem, not the solution. You may have the best idea in the world, but if you can’t find evidence that others are either struggling with a job to be done, it’s going to be an uphill battle.” – Ash Maurya

9. LeanstackThis continuous innovation platform includes everything from quick growth hacks to printable canvas templates


10. Design Sprint 2.0 Process ExplainedGreat for quick tips and tricks for running your own Design Sprint

11. Design Sprint 2.0 Monday – Long Term Goal & Sprint QuestionsThis video is especially helpful when you’re in the process of establishing a goal for your design sprint, as well as questions to keep focused on.

12. Innovation Hackers FB GroupRequest to join this group to get the inside scoop for all things innovation.


13. What Leaders Need To Do To Boost InnovationOsterwalder shares the four elements he considers critical for leaders who want to make innovation happen in their organizations

14. Strategyzer BlogAlex Osterwalder founded Strategyzer–the company responsible for the business model canvas, lean canvas, and value proposition canvas. Follow the blog for habitual learning opportunities

15. Business Model Canvas vs. Lean CanvasA short blog on the difference between a business model canvas and a lean canvas, and why a lean canvas is better for quick, valuable feedback and growth

16. Value Proposition CanvasIn the lean growth mindset, it’s important to convey your value proposition rather than just product offerings. AJ&Smart provides a quick overview of how to utilize a value proposition canvas


17. Predicting the TurnIn today’s business world, disruption to Bigcos happens at the blink of an eye. Knox’s book discusses the risk that Bigcos are facing because of this and how they can foresee the future.

18. Predicting the Turn Book TalkKnox discusses themes from his book, as well as takeaways from his time in corporate venture capital at High Alpha, an Indianapolis-based accelerator.

19. Hard Knox LifeKnox’s blog that takes a look at the intersection of corporate brands, startups, and marketing.


20. Hacking Growth: Growth Hacking did to market share growth what Lean Startup did to product development. Want to grow your business? This is a must-read.

21. How to Transform Your Business Through the Growth Hacking Mindset: An interview by Inc. with Morgan Brown and Sean Ellis, authors of Hacking Growth, to get down and dirty with what it takes to truly growth hack


22. Herding Tigers: Leading teams to be creative can be challenging, but in this book, Todd Henry sets a blueprint for enabling your team to take bold, creative risks.

23. Todd Henry Facebook Live with TGG: During our Facebook Live, Todd Henry shared an incredible amount of insight on leadership challenges creatives, entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs are faced with. Watch our discussion and review our top four takeaways most applicable to Bigco leaders and teams.

24. Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice: In the fast-paced world we live today, it’s not enough to just go through the motions of your job. We’re all now required to spit out brilliant ideas at a moment’s notice. This book shows you how.

25. Todd Henry Newsletter: Henry discusses creativity, leadership, productivity, and how to have a passion for work in all different mediums. Get first peeks at his latest writing samples, podcasts, and recommended reads by signing up for his Newsletter.


26. Taking the Lean Startup from Silicon Valley to the State Department: In this podcast, Blank discusses the difference in innovation between startups and large organizations/governments, how Lean concepts can apply to everyone anywhere, and how to overcome a few motivational challenges

27. The Art of the MVP 2 minutes to find out why: MVP testing is something of an art form, according to Steve Blank. Watch this video as he walks you through the key areas to iterate on as you test out your prototype

28. The Lean Launchpad: Over the span of a month and at no cost, you can learn from Steve Blank how to rapidly develop and test new ideas, saving you both money and time.


29. 7 Things I’ve Learned About Lean Startup -David Bland: After a few years of researching and testing Lean methods, Bland is reporting back his findings

30. Precoil: Bland is an early adopter of the Lean movement. Follow his blog for regularly updated content on his learnings over the years, as well as tips and tricks to pursue your own lean growth adventure.


About a year ago, we released a blog about our Hustle Handbook, a training we use to get teams embracing the proper mindset for growth. Because embracing the Growth Mindset is the first step, here are a few more resources to help you along the way:

31. The Learning Pit: Keep in mind, we’re all students of something. And just as any student, you will struggle. It’s important to remember to squeeze the juice out of the resources you have available, and push yourself to climb out of the pit toward success and understanding on the other side.

32. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations: Backed by decades of research, James Kouzes and Barry Posner have put together this book that shows how leaders are made, not born. It’s filled with great reminders for anyone looking to make change in their organization. We definitely recommend reading the whole book, but for those of you with minimum time capacity, here’s a quick overview.

33. Mindset – Carol Dweck: 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

34. How I became an entrepreneur at 66 – Paul Tasner: It’s never too late to become an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. Hear it from Paul Tasner who courageously took a leap into the unknown at 66 years old, and encourages other seniors to do the same.

35. HBR Emotional Intelligence Series: Empathy: It’s no secret that empathy is the key to great product development and organizational growth. This book helps you navigate just what it means to be empathetic, the importance of it, and how to overcome challenges to an empathic mindset.

36. HBR Emotional Intelligence Series: Mindfulness: Not only does mindfulness create better peace of mind for yourself, but it leads to heightened creativity, self-awareness, and charisma. This book walks you through incorporating it into your daily life, as well as how to avoid the downfalls

37. Prioritize Your Tasks & Reduce Stress at Work: A lengthy to do list can be overwhelming and almost more inhibiting than no to do list at all. AJ&Smart walks through a quick and easy way to prioritize your tasks and start your work day with less stress


Getting rapid feedback to make quick pivot, perish, or persevere decisions on products and services is crucial to lean growth. Here are some of our top resources to enable smart, affordable and efficient consumer feedback

38. How-Tos for Validating Product Ideas: hint, this isn’t traditional market research, concept-based stuff: Head of User Research & Metrics at Goldman Sachs, Ex-Google, Ex-WeWork researcher bringing all of his tried-and-true assumption-based, transactional research tips to life in book-form

39. & 40. Mixed Methods Podcast: This user research podcast says to “expect to test assumptions, examine methods, and engage in some old fashion experiments.” Well-known user research experts are featured. Two of our favorite episodes: Tomer Sharon of WeWork (now Goldman Sachs) on Rethinking the Research Report (the second half is the best) & Michael Margolis of GV on Building Rapport

41. Product Death Cycle: When you’re starting your path toward lean growth, keep this image in mind and remember not to fall victim to the Product Death Trap

42. Elaboration on Product Death Cycle: Andrew Chen elaborates on David Bland’s Product Death Cycle to explain why it happens and how it may be escapable

43. The One Biggest Error in Customer Interviews: Mistaking Opinions For Facts – Alex Osterwalder: Mistaking customers’ opinions for facts is the top error when trying to get some scrappy consumer insights. Osterwalder provides some tips for digging into the facts instead of focusing on opinions.

44. JTBD, a lens to understanding consumer problems: Jobs To Be Done helps product developers how to identify consumer wants and needs in order to design products, services, and businesses that meet those wants and needs

45. Schools of Thought on JTBD: Our Jobs to be Done approach has evolved over the years, and now integrates the tried and true principles of Jobs theory, but also takes into consideration specific challenges that Bigcos face. Learn more about the history of Jobs to be Done and about our TGG take.

46. Why Customer Feedback is Killing Your Innovation Efforts: Bryant Cooper, cofounder of Moves the Needle, explains the definition of true feedback and its role in innovation

47. 6 Scrappy Ways to Find Consumers for MVP Testing: Just a small group of consumers can give you a wealth of insights into what’s working and what’s not. But, where does one find these consumers? Do you just pick them up off the street? Read this blog to learn some effective nontraditional ways to get feedback.

48. Testing Leap of Faith Assumptions: Tools that fit into our Lean Innovation, Leap of Faith Assumption testing toolbox must fit 3 criteria: cost-effective, transactional where possible, and quick. These provide for leaner testing overall (instead of an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket approach).


Associative Thinking–the ability to connect previously unconnected dots is a trait found in truly innovative thinkers. We’ve outline our tips for enabling associative thinking in a blog post, but here a few other places to collect stimuli and connect dots across categories

49. How Much Noise is in Your Life?: Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative, explains how to absorb the stimuli that’s important and cut out the rest

50.Trendhunter: Get lost browsing this site that’s filled with the latest trends and products hitting the market

51. Springwise: Subscribe to this newsletter to receive daily emails of the latest trends and innovative products solving problems all around the world

52. TED Talks: There’s a TED Talk on just about every subject, from Alzheimer’s to Glaciers to Sustainability, you’re bound to find something that sparks a connection.

53. Biomimicry: How has nature solved a similar problem? National Geographic and this TED Talk category are great sources to learn more.

54. Lean Startup Conference: Lean Startup Conference brings the big ideas from Eric Ries’s books off the page to show how organizations are making them real around the world. Alongside thought-leaders and followers of the movement, dig in, ask questions, and learn more

55. ExpoWest: Our Breakthrough Innovation Report from Expo West 2018 includes brand examples for human to pet probiotic migration, beauty greens, natural oral care trends, and more.

56. CES: Jump into the Consumer Electronics Show and be among the first to discover new technologies hitting the market

57. Front End of Innovation Conference: The FEI conference enables corporate companies to merge with innovative ideas and prepare to take over the market


The proof is in the pudding when it comes to lean growth. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are some case stories, podcasts, and blogs to learn more about what it takes to grow successfully lean.

58. Darex MVP Story: From New hire to Product Launch in 4 weeks: Keith Romer, a former Associate Strategist, has been an absolute powerhouse since he joined the insights team at Darex. Within a few months he led some scrappy research and launched a high revenue generating product.

59. Lean Growth Bootcamp for b2b Financial Services Company Case Story: Hear the battle-tested story from Tara Newboult, VP of Product Planning & Strategy at Worldpay, on how her team partnered with The Garage Group for a 10-Week Lean Growth Bootcamp.

60. How I Built This Podcast: Hosted by Guy Raz, this podcast walks through the stories behind today’s most well-known companies, as told by the trailblazers themselves.

61. Innovation Leader: This site is focused on providing tools and resources, including research reports and networking events, to corporate innovation executives

62. Fireside Chats: Check out one of our Fireside Chats to hear more from Bigco executives about their journeys toward lean growth.

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