The term ‘Lean Startup’ should be changed to something more fitting as it makes it seem that it is applicable only to startups. In reality, I think LS is needed more for big companies. Can you think of a reason why? In startups, it becomes evident very soon if an idea or product is not going to work, given the many resource and time constraints they typically have. But larger companies have the luxury to not be Lean. And the damage this causes is not easy visible in the short term. However in today’s hyper competitive world, companies risk redundancy if they don’t follow LS.
Nowadays, it seems like every large company likes to talk about innovation. But they regularly fail in actually doing innovation. It is easy to be agile and innovate faster in smaller setups and startups. But with larger firms there are many constraints (of a different nature than startups) like cumbersome processes and procedures to follow, outdated work cultures, managers’ counterproductive mindsets, etc. This makes it very difficult to bring real innovation.
So what is the solution? The author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries, suggests that large companies should set up separate units/entities within their organizations which focus on innovation but that they should have autonomy and agile processes which helps them deliver innovations. While I agree with this in principle, it is very difficult for large companies to operate on this model in reality. This is because the people who take the key decisions have had their thinking shaped by years of corporate culture and are often not the innovators themselves. The best example of this is.
This is one of the reasons why large companies try to buy niche startups or partner with them. Quite often, this just works the best.