One of the main objectives of the tour is to open up new ways of thinking and working in media and comms, in fact across the creative industries. Being out of our normal surroundings and in unfamiliar territory, such as a different country, already has our antennae up and makes us alert to different approaches to thing.

So to make the most of this ‘alertness’ we use the project briefs as vehicles to dive deep into some contemporary methods that are producing significant results. We’ll see them in action in all of the partner organisations.

Today we’ll spend a bit of time on the groundwork, so it makes sense when you see it in real life. It will also help to get the most out of the experience.

I’ve based this on the ‘lean startup model’ but there are many variations and approaches, which aim for the same goal. They all have similar characteristics:

  • Strongly co-creative
  • Work in the public with users/stakeholders and general audiences
  • Build rapid prototypes
  • Have embedded learning mechanisms
  • Require deft and regular decision making


The Lean Startup Model has four key moves:

1 Minimum Viable Product is constructed

2. It is injected into the market/public quickly

3. Build-Measure-Learn [Innovation accounting // Validated learnings]

4. Decision: Persevere // Reject // Pivot



1 // 2 : Minimum Viable Product // Inject into the market/public quickly

Innovation is now happening in the public rather than behind the closed doors of the studio or lab. This gets the users and stakeholders involved as co-creators. The advantages are manifold, eg:

  • Less time is wasted ‘perfecting’ an idea only to find it misses the mark because of inherent assumptions
  • The users and stakeholders have what we could call ‘local knowledge’. This is often tacit knowledge that is hard to release, but it is very valuable – it can enhance the ‘product’; bring new perspectives to it; help avoid mistakes; and cann indicate a broader market response
  • The users and stakeholders become invested in the product, support it, promote it and spread the word about it

3. Build-Measure-Learn [Innovation accounting // Validated learnings]

  • The process builds a ‘live’ testing environment, so problems can be seen early in the process and refined or rejected
  • It provides a fast way to appraise the product. The mantra in innovation and entrepreneurship is to fail often and fail fast – this ensures that lessons are learnt and built on
  • The project is chunked into small component pieces so each component can be seen and movement through the project can be measured.
  • For example, the Kanban process, used at Toyota is a rapid prototyping tool that works by breaking the project into small tasks and working through and re-cycling back through them until progress is made http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban
  • At each stage, the learnings from the tasks and what occurs are captured and analysed. This help to avoid errors and assists in building clear communication between partners and co-creators
  • It is similar to reflection-in-action, which is where we notice something as it is happening and bring it to consciousness so we can record it for later, which is useful for reflection-on-action – more on this when I go over Assessment
  • Decisions are being made throughout, and importantly, assumptions are being challenged. Where necessary the work will re-cycle back through the process so corrections can be made
  • This ensures the product is developing with strong foundations

4. Decision: Persevere // Reject // Pivot

  • At a designated point a decision is made about the product, to either persevere with it along the same path as it has been going; OR to reject it and let it fail; OR to pivot.
  • Pivoting is the unusual approach. It is based on the pivot in basketball, where one foot is left on the ground while the other redirects the player and the direction the ball will be shot
  • The foot that is left on the ground represents all the valuable development that needs to be kept as a foundation; the turning leg represents a re-orientation, based on what has been learnt. This provides a new perspective and can shake out the leftover assumptions that might be holding the product back; and bring to the surface better solutions.



2 responses to “LEAN START UP MODEL

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