Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Lean Methodology

Link to slides from live session.

If there are any names you need to know in the world of entrepreneurship, it’s these guys. And yes, they’re all mostly-white, cis men. While the space has made some progress in the last few years amplifying the voices of women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color) communities, there is still much work to be done.

  • Steve Blank is considered to be one of the Godfathers of Silicon Valley. In 2003, Blank started to outline a process for customer development that became the catalyst of the lean startup movement.
  • Eric Reis took Steve Blank’s course and noticed similarities between the emerging startup teachings and Toyota’s lean manufacturing. Reis dubbed the combination of customer development and agile practices “the lean startup” and authored a book by the same name in 2011.
  • Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur developed and articulated the Business Model Canvas framework in 2010, which is the cornerstone of entrepreneurship today.

Together, Lean Startup and Business Model Canvas make up the foundation of startups and entrepreneurship.

What do lean startups do differently?

  • The founders of lean startups don’t begin with a business plan; they begin with the search for a business model. Only after quick rounds of experimentation and feedback reveal a model that works do lean founders focus on execution.
  • Instead of executing business plans, operating in stealth mode, and releasing fully functional prototypes, young ventures are testing hypotheses, gathering early and frequent customer feedback, and showing Minimum Viable Products to prospects.

Lean Methodology provided entrepreneurship with a common language and practice, and it’s used by practicing entrepreneurs and taught in virtually every entrepreneurship course and program from preschool to graduate school all around the world.


(1) Read the article: “Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything”.

  • You can download the Harvard Business Review (HBR) PDF here
  • Or read on HBR’s website in your browser here

(2) Start thinking through your assumptions with the Business Assumptions Exercise