Design of Experiments

When You Are No Longer The Smartest Person In The Room

You may have been the smartest person in the room for a long time, but getting into a room with a customer changes that because a key knowledge domain of interest is the customer’s situation and needs. Here are some suggestions for how to keep learning instead of acting like the smartest person in the …

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Primary Research Tools: Q&A With Jen Berkley Jackson

I recently did an in depth interview with Jen Berkley Jackson of The Insight Advantage on primary research tools. Jen works with companies to help them make sure that they understand their customers better than any competitor or potential competitor. Her firm performs primary research for clients, using a variety of tools to gather information …

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Larry Smith: Fail Fast, Fail Often, and Die

Larry Smith is an Economics Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo who writes and lectures on Entrepreneurship, innovation, and Technology markets. What follows is part of a conversation he had with Alan Quarry in the AQ’s Blog & Grill series of interviews with entrepreneurs. His key point, that he makes in a somewhat cranky fashion, is that technology …

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Nature, Technology and Magic

What seems natural, artificial, or supernatural is a function of familiarity. Nature is the background or context for innovation. The challenge is that we live in a world and culture formed by millennia of innovation so that some incredibly advanced technologies seem natural. The difference between technology and magic is not that one works more …

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Founder Story: Edith Harbaugh of LaunchDarkly

I got to know Edith Harbaugh (@edith_h) when she was moderating the Lean Startup Circle Group and published two guest blog posts by her: “It’s Your Execution, Not Your Idea” and “Managing Email Conversations With Customers.” I also invited her to take part in a webinar on Innovator’s DNA: Experimenting Skill. During the roundtable conversation …

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If You Are Cycling Through Chaos, Keep Pedaling

Patrick Brady writes at “Red Kite Prayer” on cycling and related topics. His blog took a very personal turn in February of 2013 with a post entitled “Any Normal Person.” In reading the series I was reminded of a remark Irwin Federman made to MMI employees when were using four day work weeks (actually five …

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Q: We Already Have a Prototype, Can We Still Do Customer Development?

Product-market fit is not a ratchet: competitive response, new entrants, changes in technology and customer preference require ongoing customer development. You will need to continue to do customer development–and customer discovery for that matter–even after you have a first prototype, an MVP, early customers, and an established niche. Markets and competitors don’t stand still, no …

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Discovery Kanban Allows Firms to Balance Delivery and Discovery

I believe that Patrick Steyaert’s Discovery Kanban offers a critical perspective on how large organizations can foster the proliferation of lean innovation methods beyond isolated spike efforts or innovation colonies. I think Patrick Steyaert has come up with an approach that builds on what we have learned from customer development and Lean Startup and offers an …

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A Conversation With A Bootstrapping EdTech Startup On Customer Interviews

What follows is a sequence of E-mails with an entrepreneur bootstrapping an EdTech startup around the challenges of doing customer interviews that have been recast as a conversation, with the original content edited for length and clarity. Entrepreneur (E): I am working with a couple of friends–we all have day jobs–on an idea for helping …

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Innovation Needs Starvation, Pressure, and a New Perspective

Successful innovation results when entrepreneurs manage their own shortcomings,  find a  problem they care about, and approach it from different angles with small safe-to-fail experiments. Dave Snowden on Culture and Innovation Dave Snowden has a thought provoking post on Culture and Innovation where he identified three  necessary, but not sufficient conditions for innovation to take …

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