The Executive - January/February 2018 - 10
ave you ever had this experience?
Someone (staff, senior leadership, volunteer leadership) comes up with a great idea for a new program,
product or service. Maybe it was even specifically requested by a member. Your team builds it, hopefully on
time and on budget. The result has lots of features, works easily and the way it was designed to, and looks
terrific to boot. And it flops. No one uses it.
What went wrong?
Maybe you identified the wrong
audience. Or something you thought
was a real problem or need for them
turned out not to be. Or the solution you
came up with wasn't something that
made sense to them, or you weren't able
to offer it at a price they were willing
to pay. You may have been relying on
anecdotal evidence or some untested
assumptions. Or maybe your project fell
prey to the HIPO (the Highest Income/
Influence Person's Opinion). Or some
combination of the above.
In short, you invested resources
working on the wrong thing.
Is there a process that can help
associations achieve our missions,
stay in business, find problems
worth solving, and make a real
and meaningful difference for our
members, achieving the sustainable,
dynamic impact we seek?
There is: lean startup methodology,
as most fully articulated by Eric
Ries in his 2011 book The Lean
Startup. Ries developed the lean
startup innovation system as a
result of his experiences with lean
process improvement, which focuses
on reducing waste and defects
Ca lSAE's T HE E XEC U T IV E - J A NU A R Y/F E BRUA RY 2 0 1 8
and working more efficiently and
effectively. While doing lean process
improvement for one of his companies,
Ries had an epiphany: it doesn't matter
how quickly you're moving if you're
headed in the wrong direction.
Lean startup methodology is
designed to help make sure you're going
the right way AND going there quickly
and efficiently. It's comprised of several
* The Business Model Canvas
* The Build-Measure-Learn Cycle
* The Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
* The Pivot