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How the Lean Startup Dojo helped Program9 teams to validate their ideas

by Stefan Haas and Jens Otto Lange

Lean Startup - hands-on

On Friday May 13 Stefan Haas and Jens Otto Lange from the #PoDojo have been invited with their one day workshop ‘Lean Startup Dojo’ to work with teams from the seven startups of Program9 at Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator. At the #PoDojo we create hands-on learning experiences to improve capabilities how to build products customers love and how to find business models that work for the product ideas.  

The goal of the day was to apply the Lean Startup method on a real example, improve how the teams make decisions and help the teams of Program9 to move their business idea a step further.

Lots of action, great learning

After running the experiments, the teams made sense of their results, to rethink the assumptions they made before they ran their experiment, to remap their insights to the Value Proposition canvas. In the reflection round where we collected their learnings, we heard: “Take a step back”, “There’s a long road before building products”, “Question everything everyday”, and “Take the time to question and validate assumptions”. The feedback of participants reflected that all of them became highly aware that early testing of assumptions  is a core and very valuable activity for a startup - and for some of them it became evident even after a short day that they could invalidate some of their ideas.

Take-Aways

  • Without the discipline of mapping out the business model, value proposition and extracting hypothesis it’s easy to get lost in prototyping details
  • Even when product level prototypes exist it makes sense to ‘recompile’ the business model and value proposition ideas behind to make sense of user feedback when testing usability and to avoid a local optimum of the product idea
  • There’s no simulation to substitute for running experiments with real users and thus going outside of the building needs to be integral part of learning Lean Startup
  • It’s possible to run a full Build-Measure-Learn cycle from scratch with an early stage startup in a day 

For our coaches from the #PoDojo it was great fun, particularly to work with startups in a very early stage: “Highly engaged people, it’s a pleasure to work with them” Stefan pointed out, and Jens added “Great crowd, lot’s of energy".

Read a more detailed article including some method tips in the #PoDojo blog