Often the opposite of disruption is the status quo. If you’re a startup trying to disrupt an existing business you need to read The Fixer by Bradley Tusk and Regulatory Hacking by Evan Burfield. These two books, one by a practitioner, the other by an investor, are must-reads. The Fixer is 1/3rd autobiography, 1/3rd case studies, and 1/3rd a “how-to” manual. Regulatory Hacking is closer to a “step-by-step” textbook with case studies. Here’s why you need to read them.
I don’t own an Apple Watch. I do have a Fitbit. But the Apple Watch 4 announcement intrigued me in a way no other product has since the original IPhone. This wasn’t just another product announcement from Apple. It heralded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) entrance into the 21stcentury. It is a harbinger of the future of healthcare and how the FDA approaches innovation.
For most of our lives the idea that computers and technology would get, better, faster, cheaper every year was as assured as the sun rising every morning. The story “GlobalFoundries Stops All 7nm Development“ doesn’t sound like the end of that era, but for anyone who uses an electronic device, it most certainly is. Technology innovation is going to take a different direction.
Reading the NY Times article “Jeffrey Katzenberg Raises $1 Billion for Short-Form Video Venture,” I realized it was time for a new startup heuristic: the amount of customer discovery and product-market fit you need to find is inversely proportional to the amount and availability of risk capital. And while the “first mover advantage” was the rallying cry of the last bubble, today’s is: “Massive capital infusion can own the entire market.”
When Colonel Peter Newell headed up the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) he used lean methods on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to provide immediate technology solutions to urgent problems. Today, his company BMNT does for government and commercial customers what the Rapid Equipping Force did for the U.S. Army. Pete and I created the Hacking for Defense class (with Joe Felter and Tom Byers.) One of the problems our students run into is that there are always multiple...
I was having a second coffee with an ex student, now the head of a marketing inside a rapidly growing startup. His company had marched through customer discovery, learning about the customer problem, validated solutions and was now scaling sales and marketing. All good news.
Getting ready for our next semester’s class, I asked my Teaching Assistant why I hadn’t seen the posters for our new class around campus. Hearing the litany of excuses that followed –“It was raining.” (The posters go inside the building.) “We still have time.” (We had agreed they were to go up a week ago) — I had a strong sense of déjà vu. When I took the job of VP of Marketing in a company emerging from bankruptcy, excuses seemed to be our main product. So we created The No Excuses Culture.
The latest “aha” moment for me when I was at Columbia University teaching an intensive 5-day version of the Lean LaunchPad/I-Corps class. The goal of the class is to expose students to the basics of the Lean Methodology – Business Model Design, Customer Development and Agile Engineering.
On the last day Congress was in session in 2016, Democrats and Republicans agreed on a bill that increased innovation and research for the country. For me, seeing Congress pass this bill, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, was personally satisfying. It made the program I helped start, the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) a permanent part of the nation’s science ecosystem. I-Corps uses Lean Startup methods to teach scientists how to turn their discoveries...
We just held our final week of the Hacking for Diplomacy class, teaching students entrepreneurship and “Lean Startup” principles while they engaged in national public service applying advanced technologies to solve global challenges. Seven student teams delivered their final Lessons Learned presentations documenting their intellectual journey over just 10 short weeks in front of several hundred people in person and online. And what a journey it’s been.
I had to laugh when my post about what happens when innovative CEOs retire or die appeared in both the bastion of capitalism– the Harvard Business Review— and in the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party – The People’s Daily.Then I didn’t.
We just finished our Lean LaunchPad class at UC Berkeley’s engineering school where many of the teams embedded machine learning technology into their products. It struck me as I watched the teams try to find how their technology would solve real customer problems, is that machine learning is following a similar pattern of previous technical infrastructure innovations. Early entrants get sold to corporate acquirers at inflated prices for their teams, their technology, and their tools. Later...
We’ve just held our seventh and eighth weeks of Hacking for Diplomacy at Stanford, and the attention our course is getting from Washington – and around the world – has been interesting. Following Secretary of State John Kerry’s meeting with the students early in the quarter, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken paid a visit to the class in Week 7 and four foreign ministers in week 8.
Jennifer Edgin is the Chief Technology Officer of the Intelligence Division at the Headquarters of the Marine Corps. As the Senior Technical Advisor to the Director of Intelligence, she is and is responsible for building and infusing new technologies within the Marine Corps Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Enterprise (MCISRE). Jennifer is one the “innovation insurgents” inside the Department of Defense driving rapid innovation. Here’s her story of the Lean innovation...
The academic year is in full swing at Stanford and already we’re deep into our new Hacking for Diplomacy course. Building off last spring’s pioneering Hacking for Defense class, which sought to connect Silicon Valley’s innovation culture and mindset to the Pentagon and the intelligence community, we’ve now expanded our horizons to the Department of State.
Alexander Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas, co-founded strategyzer.com and was the lead author of Business Model Generation which sold a million copies in 30 languages. Alexander and I often collaborate on new ideas for corporate innovation. Here’s his guest post on what bad habits to avoid inside of a company.