Lean Start-up Intro 1: What's Your Problem?

Things are heating up in the New Ventures Studio. With temperatures soaring to a Summery 30ºC plus on Tuesday, it was time to enter the market place and find a problem to try and solve.

Before our Young Entepreneurs are ready to develop their own business models, Abe Oliver, Ignition Centre Manager and Entrepreneurship Anchor at TSiBA Cape Town, lead us on the first of a 2-day introductory workshop covering the principles of the Lean Start-up.

But first things first: What's the problem?

As a group formation excercise - participants were asked to come up with a real-world problem (not a solution, not a product, not a service), and pitch it to their peers until a group rallied around it, or not! Timing is critical to any entrepreneur and this simulation was no different - fail to attract enough interest in your problem before time run's out and you may find yourself joining someone else's.

Here's how they lined up with their chosen problems: (from top left, clockwise)

Group 1: Finding reliable household services like gardeners, electricians etc online.

Group 2: RSA's failing education system; in particular MESI - Maths Entrepreneurship Science Innovation.

Group 3: RSA's growing water crisis.

Group 4: Traffic congestion during peak hours.

Participants' next lesson was how best to turn ideas into products by BUILDING, MEASURING and LEARNING - quickly!

A simple game of darts gave a practical exhibition of how a team should go about testing the market. Groups had two rounds to hit the target (more points closer to the bullseye), with the option to change the thrower after the first round and the big risk incentive of four-times the points for taking aim from further back.

As is so often the case in the real world, the team that took the biggest risk - standing at the furthest 4m mark - ended up scoring the most points and winning the challenge.

What a throw!

Overall it was a fun and challenging day, as groups went back to the drawing board to start thinking about their Value Proposition and Customer segments when coming up with solutions for their problem.

Today we will unpack these with more detail when the entrepreneurs "get out the building" and TEST their hypotheses in fronT of potential customers.

My question to you: WHAT'S YOUR PROBLEM? Drop us a comment in the section below!


The goal of Build-Measure-Learn is not to build a final product to ship or even to build a prototype of a product, but to maximize learning through incremental and iterative engineering. (Learning could be about product features, customer needs, the right pricing and distribution channel, etc.)

The BUILD step refers to building a minimal viable product (an MVP.) It’s critical to understand that an MVP is not the product with fewer features. Rather it is the simplest thing that you can show to customers to get the most learning at that point in time. Early on in a startup, an MVP could simply bea PowerPoint slide, wireframe, clay model, sample data set, etc.

Each time you build an MVP you also define what you are trying to test/MEASURE.

Later, as more is learned, the MVP’s go from low-fidelity to higher fidelity, but the goal continues to be to maximize LEARNING not to build a beta/fully featured prototype of the product.

Source: Steve Blank (http://steveblank.com/2015/05/06/build-measure-learn-throw-things-against-the-wall-and-see-if-they-work/)

#Business #Entrepreneur #YoungEntrepreneur #AbrahamOliver #TSiBA #LeanStartup #buildmeasurelearn

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