“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
Silicon Valley is the hub of high tech innovations and a “growth pole” of the global economy. Silicon Valley serves as headquarter to business behemoths such as Apple, Google, eBay, Facebook, Oracle, Cisco, Intel, Hewlett Packard, and Adobe. Silicon Valley also has a high density of Venture Capitalists. Given the global success of many startups in Silicon Valley, it is astounding that about 90% of funded startups fail or go bankrupt. For an outsider like me, this High Mortality Rate (HMR) of startups is unacceptable: it’s a huge waste of time, money, and talent. Surely, there must be a less risky way of building scalable startups. In my view, Silicon Valley needs a paradigm shift, now. Silicon Valley certainly needs a new movement that champions Holistic Problem Solving rather than Fragmented (Functional) Problem Solving approaches such as in traditional Agile (Product) Development and Customer (Market) Development.
But, what really is Holistic Problem Solving? “Holistic Problem Solving (HPS)” refers to an integrated dashboard methodology that focuses on rapidly discovering Big Urgent Market Problems (BUMPs) while creating, delivering, and managing Awesome Customer Experiences (ACEs) at 3 levels: Level of System (Enterprise), Environment (Market/Industry), and Supersystem (Economy/Society). In Holistic Problem Solving, ideas are visually generated, organized, managed, and tracked on one page using a zoomable map: the Living System Dashboard (LSD). In recent years, startups in the Silicon Valley have increasingly been using the paradigm of Holistic Problem Solving especially by focusing on a business model or an extended enterprise as unit of analysis. Emerging holistic problem solving approaches include Eric Ries’s Lean Startup Method and Steve Blank’s Customer Development Stack.
In Silicon Valley, the approaches of Lean Startup Method and Customer Development Stack are replacing traditional Business (Waterfall) Planning which has an amorphous and inordinately long Build-Measure-Learn cycle. The traditional Business Plan is considered initially unsuitable for scalable startups, which require hypotheses about market problems and customer experiences to be rapidly tested and validated (or rejected). It is important to note, however, that the Lean Startup Method and Customer Development Stack ignore the creation, delivery, sharing, and management of customer experience at the level of the supersystem (society/economy). This neglect is evident in the increasing use of the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas to visually organize and manage ideas for scalable startups especially in Silicon Valley. Unlike in the Living System Dashboard, however, the Business Model Canvas does not contain building blocks for competitors and elements of a supersystem.