Collective Campus recently held its first Lean Startup Short Course. The course, held for 20 hours over four weeks, brought together seven budding entrepreneurs and exposed them to the world of build, measure and learn.
Why is this concept of build, measure and learn so important to startups?
96% of Australian startups fail, according to Deloitte, and it’s not because they build products that don’t work. Essentially, it’s because they build what nobody wants to buy.
Entrepreneurs with dreams of escaping the 9-5 and making a big exit usually go straight from idea to trying to scale (prematurely) without doing any of the real, painstaking legwork that goes on in between to get out of the building and test key assumptions with real customers.
Startups that succeed are those that manage to make enough changes to their product, business model and marketing strategy, based on validated market learnings, before running out of cash – that’s it.
Using elements of design thinking and the lean startup methodology, our lean startup practitioners learned the ropes of how you get an idea out of your head, into the customer’s hands and test whether or not they are picking up what you’re putting down, without spending too much time or money finding out –essentially advocating a fail fast, learn by doing philosophy. This empowered our students to be able to test lots of different ideas to find what works rather than commit the next 24 months chasing one bad idea.
What did our students learn?
- How to identify the customer job
- How to prioritise jobs , problems and solutions
- Ideation sources
- The nature of disruptive innovation
- Traps to avoid
- How to identify customer pains and gains and craft a compelling value proposition
- How to build a business model
- How to identify key make or break assumptions underlying a business model
- How to conduct problem and solution interviews
- How best to test these assumptions using prototypes
- How to get customers to actually interact with your prototype
- How to define key actionable metrics to test success rates of your experiments
- When to pivot or proceed
- How and where to look for funding
- The basics of pitching
So who were our students?
Our students came from a broad array of backgrounds. Amongst them were management consultants from PwC, an innovation projects coordinator from Swinburne Design Factory, a product manager from CarSales, a business improvement analyst from Telstra, a marketing specialist from Symantec, a business analyst from ANZ and an electrician!
The team came to the course with a number of different ideas that evolved quickly over the course of the four weeks as the students implemented what they learned by building quick prototypes to test their key assumptions.
Class discussions also proved to be a great source of idea refinement. Great ideas are rarely the result of insular thinking and often evolve over time, which is why the classroom setting was so powerful for these students.
Ideas spanned the gamut of industries from real estate, market research, not for profit fundraising, travel, and logistics to health and education.
The course wrapped up with a pitch night where students were given the opportunity to get some experience pitching their ideas and thinking about their ideas from the perspective of investors.
This included guest speakers from companies such as Parent Paperwork who successfully raised $400,000 for their education admin startup and Winston Watches who successfully hit their $15,000 funding campaign on Kickstarter on day one and went on to raise another $32,000 more.