Why do people, organizations, societies, and other living systems die?
There’s only one answer as to why an object dies. My hypothesis is that living organisms die or become extinct when their supersystems (ecosystems) fail to create and manage Red Ocean Disruption teams that rapidly discover and solve BUMPs. In simple terms, organisms die because of “non-problem solving.” The late science philosopher, Karl Popper, expressed this point succinctly when he said, “All life is problem solving.” Popper was a strong proponent of the Scientific Method of problem solving.
Unlike in Science and Engineering, the fields of Business Planning and Strategy have made limited use of the Scientific Method. It’s no wonder that about 9 out of 10 startups fail or prematurely die. To iterate, startups are failing because they do not rapidly discover and solve BUMPs. In other words, failing or failed startups do not have teams that systematically and rapidly discover as well as solve BUMPs. But, there’s a revolution underway in the startup world … a revolution that focuses on helping startups to rapidly discover and solve BUMPs. The pioneer of the startup revolution is the “Lean Startup Movement.” Silicon Valley is the epicenter of the Lean Startup Movement.
So what’s the approach advocated by the Lean Startup Movement? As with any revolution in progress, there is as yet no standard approach that a startup can use to rapidly discover and solve BUMPs under conditions of great uncertainty. However, there is consensus that every Lean Startup must continuously use the problem solving cycle of the Scientific Method: hypothesis formulation; sample testing; validated learning. Nevertheless, two related but different methodologies stand clear in the world of Lean Startups: Steve Blank’s Customer Development Stack and Eric Ries’s Lean Startup Method. The question is: How effective is the Customer Development Stack or Lean Startup Method in rapidly discovering and solving BUMPs under conditions of great uncertainty?
Although I’ve not formally investigated the effectiveness of tools in the world of Lean Startups, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that, compared to the traditional approach of Waterfall Business Planning, the Customer Development Stack and Lean Startup method are faster and more cost effective at identifying and solving BUMPs. In spite of signs of their early success, the Customer Development Stack and Lean Startup method are neglecting a critical building block in the successful evolution of any organization. And that building block is “team:” team formation/synergy, deployment, and management. Shouldn’t we first ask, “What are the problem solving styles of members of