Running Lean by Ash Maurya is an interesting complement to the Lean series edited by Eric Ries. Maurya’s book acts as a process guide for iterative startups and entrepreneurship. Maurya, himself an entrepreneur and avid startup blogger, uses his fist startup CloudFire as a case study of process throughout the book.
From the start, this book approaches entrepreneurship with the mindset of a designer, leveraging prototyping, interviewing, and user testing as techniques to validate and mitigate risk. Running Lean also introduces the use of the Lean Canvas, a tool Maurya developed by modifying the Business Model Canvas by Osterwalder. Much of the difference between the two lies in Maurya’s reconfiguration of the labels; such as renaming Customer Relations to Unfair Advantage or Key Activities with Key Metrics. However, Maurya takes it a step by further by not just re-appropriating the canvas, but adapting how one approaches its use.
The Lean mantra is an interesting approach to entrepreneurship as it is at its core, the design process applied. As I have been progressing through many different forms of business and entrepreneurial literature, time and time again much of the user-centered design process bubbles up to the surface. While there is a saying that is circulating around both business and design schools, “The MFA is the new MBA,” it begs the question of is design (or more specifically user-centered design) the new startup? From a research perspective this is very enlightening and should be explored further.