How Lean Startups Use Customer-Led Innovation to Refine Business Plans

As new products are continually emerging in the marketplace, businesses are starting to shed many of their older, more cumbersome processes and procedures, focusing instead on lightweight product exploration and development. Rather than attempting to focus test existing products, customer-led innovation is becoming the modus operandi for many lean startups. Here’s what you need to know. 

Why are Lean Startups Being Used to Drive New Products?

With a philosophy of “failing early,” lean startups are a minimalist, streamlined process through which new products are designed to correlate with real demand. Through lean development, businesses can explore new products without investing significant amounts of money towards the products, thereby letting them explore a multitude of new avenues without over-investing. Lean startups are companies that are focused on the development of these products, using new and innovative approaches, rather than the old “throw everything to the wall and see what sticks” approaches.

As innovation is fueled by a variety of different directions, it becomes necessary for startups to be able to pivot as needed towards the products, services, and solutions that the market will support. With global competition enabled by technology and several new, disruptive technologies being produced, it has become harmful to “put all your eggs in one basket.” Lean startups are a product of an age in which the market moves rapidly, and because it is a market-guided solution, it requires customer-led innovation.

How Does Customer Led Innovation Work?

Through customer-led innovation, businesses interact more directly with their customers to resolve complaints, troubleshoot issues, and, perhaps most importantly, get feedback. Through an improved relationship with their customers, business owners are able to find new opportunities for innovation. Businesses that use customer-led innovation can poll their customers regarding their current experiences and find out more about what’s most important to them. Through this type of customer-led innovation, businesses are able to test the market first without having to invest a significant amount.

How Can You Integrate Lean Startups With Customer Integration?

Through customer integration, lean startups can learn more about the products and services that their customers desire — pivoting in the right direction as needed. The goal of a lean startup is to develop products in as streamlined a process as possible, and customer integration offers the ability to easily correct and find the “right” answers. By interfacing with customers regularly early on during the product process, lean startups can often develop their products in previously unanticipated ways.

This goes against traditional techniques, which would introduce customers to a product only at the very final stages. When introducing products to customers this late, it can be very expensive for the product itself to change. This leads to a longer, more impactful “failure” condition than in a lean startup, which promotes failure fast, and early on.

Through customer-led innovation and lean startup techniques, businesses are able to tap directly into customer needs. With many industries changing and being disrupted, it isn’t always possible to anticipate customer needs, especially as these needs change and grow. All of this means that businesses need to be willing to change up their strategies. Find out more info about how your business can succeed by contacting us today at Starr & Associates.