Spark23 Product Advisory
Product Advisory

Spark23 Blog

Observations and advice on product strategy, product management, innovation, and business culture.

Don't let #lean kill your passion

We like lean approaches to innovation - whether building a startup as an entrepreneur, or building new products and services within an established company as in intrapreneur.

When running lean:

  • We learn faster
  • We reduce waste (time and resources)
  • We are more likely to create a successful business that solves our customers' problem(s)

We preach "love the problem, not your solution."

We preach "love the customer, not the problem (nor your solution)."

And yet I have met so many entrepreneurs and intrepreneurs who continue to run off the cliff with their passions about their particular solution, even when they know & understand the principles and benefits of customer development and running lean. 

Why is that?

I think it's because they don't actually care about building a successful business – rather, they are truly and wonderfully passionate about the very particular thing that they want to make.

In fact, they are so passionate about realizing their specific vision that they unwittingly convince themselves that all of their potential customers will completely share their passion as well. When they finish their masterpiece and the dust settles, they often find themselves to be the only customer for the product they've created. 

In Lean and Product Management circles we'll consider this an epic failure, and we'll either shame the entrepreneur – they should have known better – or use them as an example of how not to innovate.

But yet... is this scenario really so terrible?

What about the passion and the drive that the entrepreneur displayed?

What about the boldness, the confidence, and the unfettered determination to get that product made?   

I think the reality is that Lean isn't for everyone.

What do you have to say? Let's start this conversation.

Alex Westner