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The Lean Enterprise: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups

ISBN: 978-1-118-85217-0
256 pages
March 2014
The Lean Enterprise: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups (1118852176) cover image


#1 Amazon Bestseller in Lean Management

Discover the methods of lean startups that can revolutionize large organizations and their products

Even in a tough economic climate, the startup business community has found a way to create innovative, game-changing products in shockingly short timeframes. So why should larger, more established companies take notice? Because they have everything to gain when they examine and adopt the strategies, tools, and attitudes of these smaller competitors. The Lean Enterprise presents a groundbreaking design for revolutionizing larger organizations, one that draws on the ingenious tenets and practices espoused by the startup community. The guidelines in this book will help companies shake the lethargy, bureaucracy, and power struggles that plague large organizations and hold them back from true innovation.

At the heart of this resource is a comprehensive, practical approach based on methods, timetables, compensation, financial investment, and case studies that reveal the startup mentality. Respected thought leaders in lean startup methodologies, the authors cover successful enterprise development, development innovation labs, corporate venture arms, and acquisition and integration of startups.

  • Essential reading for entrepreneurs, product managers, executives and directors in Forbes 2000 organizations, and board members
  • Presents the tools and methodologies large businesses need to compete with a new generation of highly-empowered entrepreneurs
  • Covers lean startup culture and principles and identifies the behaviors that arestunting growth at large enterprises
  • Offers a comprehensive, practical approach for developing exciting products and services and opening vast new markets

Don't be mystified by the success of startups. Master the methods of this new generation of entrepreneurs and compete on a level playing field.

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Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Chapter 1 Roadmap: Introducing the Lean Enterprise 1

Chapter 2 Strategy 19

Chapter 3 Corporate Structure 39

Chapter 4 Compensation 59

Chapter 5 Vision: The Innovation Thesis 71

Chapter 6 Lean Enterprise Process 83

Chapter 7 Experimental Methods 109

Chapter 8 Innovation Accounting 131

Chapter 9 Incubate Internally 149

Chapter 10 Acquire Early 167

Chapter 11 Invest When You Can’t Acquire 185

Chapter 12 Innovation Flow 201

Conclusion 211

About the Author 221

Index 223

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Author Information

TREVOR OWENS is an entrepreneur and thought leader in Lean Startup methodologies. He is the Founder and CEO of Javelin.com, an innovation training and software company known for its Lean Startup Machine workshop that has helped tens of thousands of innovators, including those from Google, Salesforce, News Corp, Intuit, and others, start thousands of new businesses across six continents.

OBIE FERNANDEZ is an avid writer and technology enthusiast. He works with Owens as the Co-Founder and CTO of Javelin.com. Fernandez is also author of the best selling technology book The Rails Way and the founder of multiple successful companies, including one of the world’s best known Ruby on Rails web design and development agencies, Hashrocket.

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“Owens and Fernandez show us how corporations can leverage lean startup methods and drive innovation through internal incubation, acqui-hires, and strategic investment. The Lean Enterprise provides savvy insights on the organizational structures, systems, and processes that will maximize success odds with corporate entrepreneurship."
Thomas Eisenmann, Harvard Business School, Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration

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Press Release

April 14, 2014
How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups

Opportunities and new markets appear unpredictably, and reacting to them quickly and aggressively is more important than ever for large enterprises. But the monolithic nature of the enterprise is often directly at odds with the notions of innovation. If large companies want to ensure they don’t become the next Blockbuster, Kodak or Yellow Pages, then they need a complete strategic overhaul.

In THE LEAN ENTERPRISE: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups (WILEY; March 2014; Hardcover & eBook; $40.00), authors, entrepreneurs, and Lean Startup experts Trevor Owens and Obie Fernandez present a groundbreaking design for revolutionizing larger organizations using the Lean Startup methodology—a scientific approach for building successful businesses developed and made popular by Eric Ries—to activate latent entrepreneurial talents that transform stodgy organizations into energetic factories of new and disruptive products and services. Owens and Fernandez have implemented their Lean Startup approach with such clients as Google, GE, ESPN, American Express and other major corporations.

“The book provides enterprise leaders with a detailed examination of the motivations that drive innovative individuals and the support structures they need to deliver breakthrough products and services within an enterprise context,” says Trevor Owens. “The guidelines in this book will help companies shake the lethargy, bureaucracy, and power struggles that hold them back from true innovation and instead will teach them how to compete and prosper by embracing the startup culture along with mastering the methods of the new generation of entrepreneurs.”

To help disruptive innovators build world-changing products and companies, the Lean Startup method requires a three-step scientific process: Build-Measure-Learn.  

  • Identify a problem that needs to be solved and build a minimum viable product (MVP)—a version of a new product that allows a startup team to collect the maximum amount of information with the least amount of effort—to provide a hypothetical solution to that problem.
  • To test your hypothesis, present the MVP to the market and measure how customers respond, using both quantitative and qualitative metrics.
  • Analyze the results and then learn whether to pivot and test a new hypothesis, or to persevere and continue building the business.

This feedback loop allows startups to cycle through an infinite number of hypotheses without committing excessive resources to any one idea before it is proven to be economically viable. This way a large enterprise can confidently expect a return on its investment and avoid the pitfalls of a stagnant business.

The Lean Enterprise points out examples of the many failures of corporate leadership to empower the very innovators within their walls. Spectacularly successful startups, such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram were founded after corporate employees became fed up with the stifling nature of corporate bureaucracy and decided it was easier, and more profitable, to venture out on their own.

This book is essential reading for corporate executives, entrepreneurs, product managers, board members and anyone responsible for innovation or business growth. Every enterprise is harboring billion-dollar ideas within their own workforce, and The Lean Enterprise gives business leaders a scientifically proven method to access and seize potentially wildly lucrative opportunities.  

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