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What is the difference between Lean Innovation and Lean Startup?

Lean Innovation and Lean Startup are two related concepts that focus on building successful businesses through an iterative and customer-centric approach. Although Lean Innovation is based on Lean Startup, it is not entirely the same. This article discusses what the Lean Startup is, and where it comes from, followed by an explanation of what Lean Innovation is. Eventually, we will explain the differences between Lean Innovation and Lean Startup.

While lean innovation and lean startup methodologies are critical for driving growth and efficiency in new ventures, family-owned businesses may require a more tailored approach due to their unique dynamics and challenges. Working with an experienced family business consulting firm can provide the specialized guidance needed to implement these methodologies effectively while preserving family harmony and aligning with long-term strategic goals.

What is a Lean Startup?

Lean Startup is a methodology that provides a framework for developing and launching new products or services. In 2011, Eric Ries published a book about the methodology. He said that ventures should try to create a feedback cycle as early in the development phase as possible. This means building the minimum of what a product or service needs to be able to do, test its key value. By approaching in this way, ventures can get fast and early on feedback, used to  iterate the product. This process is called the build-measure-learn feedback loop and is used to quickly test assumptions and gather customer feedback. The goal is to learn and adapt based on real-world data to build a resoursce effective sustainable business. 

What is lean innovation?

Lean innovation is a broader concept that encompasses Lean Startup principles but extends beyond startups. It applies the principles of lean thinking, Design Thinking and Scrum to innovation within established organizations. Lean innovation focuses on fostering a culture of continuous improvement, experimentation, and customer validation to drive innovation and create value for customers. But as it involves more than just a small venture, lean innovation can be hard to apply effectively. Luckily there are services that can help organizations with lean innovation. Think about Agile coaches, corporate startup coaches, or a virtual coaching software like GroundControl. 

What is the difference?

Lean Startup is primarily focused on launching new ventures, while lean innovation is about cultivating an innovative mindset and practices within existing organizations to drive ongoing improvements and customer-centricity. Both approaches share the common goal of maximizing success by minimizing waste, learning from customers, and iterating based on real-world feedback. But lean innovation goes further than just individual startups. Where the Lean Startup principles are useful for entrepreneurs who are building their company, lean innovation is more used by corporates with multiple corporate startups and ventures that have a necessity for another mindset, system, and measuring method.