Grow a Unicorn at a Lean Startup Workshop

By Rob Healy, Principal Consultant, Ammeon

Being an entrepreneur is not easy. There is limited time and money available to convert your ideas and dreams into viable and successful products and services and a plethora of pitfalls to try to avoid along the way [1]. Ireland has one of the lowest rates of new business creation in the EU [2]. However, many innovators are not starting from scratch and are solving challenging issues from within existing teams and companies [3]. For both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs the goal is to see innovation become a success, beat the competition and drive the company a step closer to becoming the next Unicorn (with a valuation over €1bn).

Learning how to innovate can be both easy and fun. Since the publication of the Lean Startup” series of books, Ries, Maurya et al. have inspired a new generation to “Get out of the Building” and change from a product-focussed approach to a customer-focussed one. But running a startup is not just about learning what the market needs and wants ,are it is also about designing and building a product that can satisfy them. The product (or service) must be affordable to those who want it and profitable after all the ancillary costs are developed. This is why we in Ammeon run competitions for the Startup Unicorn Cup (SUC).

 

The SUC is the award for participants of our Lean Startup Workshop for the winner of the Playing Lean game. In the workshop we introduce the core Lean Startup ideas and concepts. These include:

  • Methods for creating ideas,
  • Prioritisation techniques,
  • Lean Canvas for business modelling
  • Understanding how the Voice of the Customer maps to Critical to Quality features,
  • Methods for assigning various types of jobs to be done.

These are then put to the test as the participants compete against each other to win. The game demonstrates how few rules there are to guarantee success and how your best laid plan can easily be scuppered by a competitor who got lucky.

The prize is a small token trophy named after a mythical creature, not a €1bn cheque. The rest of the participants get a certificate of completion. But like all entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs participants will have learned from their early successes / early setbacks and will leave with the tools and training to help them succeed in the real world.

Lean Startup Workshop: 15th November, Dublin

References:

  1. T. Cooney, Why Businesses Fail, May 2012, [Online] http://thomascooney.ie/why-businesses-fail  [Accessed 14 August 2017]
  2. M. Hennigan, Ireland’s business startup rate among lowest in European Union, November 2016, [Online]  http://www.finfacts.ie/Irish_finance_news/articleDetail.php?Ireland-s-business-startup-rate-among-lowest-in-European-Union-733 [Accessed 14 August 2017]
  3. A. Johnson, The Product Owner-the most difficult role in Scrum: Webinar Q&A, January 2016, [Online]  https://www.watermarklearning.com/blog/product-owner-scrum-webinar/ [Accessed 6 June 2017]
  4. Ries, Eric. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Crown Business, 2011.

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