Discovering Your Startup

Now is perhaps the most exciting time ever to be an entrepreneur. Why? Because better access to information, capital and talent is leveling the playing field.

As an entrepreneur, you have great ideas. But where do you start in making something of them? Thanks to thinkers such as Clayton Christensen, Steve Blank, Brant Cooper, Andrew Chen, Eric Ries, Ash Maurya and others, we have a wealth of knowledge on how to answer that question. We also have valuable lessons from Toyota lean manufacturing, Agile software development, user experience design, discovery-driven planning, and other methodologies re-imagined for entrepreneurial use.

In this workshop, we will teach you essential principles for moving from “I have an awesome idea” to action-oriented steps toward making it a reality — or for quickly finding out that you need to move on to awesome idea No. 2.

The workshop will feature two hands-on exercises, and we will call on some of you to discuss what you come up with, so bring your ideas and a pen!

For more information, watch Eric Ries at Google describing Lean Startup (starting at 0:02:00).Workshop outline:

  1. Startup vs. incremental improvement
  2. Unwinding your awesome idea: solving the right problem
  3. Discovering your first customer
  4. Exercise: early adopter persona (worksheet provided)
  5. Getting out of the building: customer development
  6. Exploration vs. optimization
  7. Exercise: planning your first experiment (worksheet provided)

Please bring a business idea (currently working on or hope to in the future) described in three sentences or less.