Steve Blank is widely recognized as the Father of the Lean Startup Movement which focuses on applying a scientific experimental approach to projects that are launched under conditions of great uncertainty. The current focus of the Lean Startup movement is the development of business startups. For systematically discovering and validating a scalable business model, Steve Blanks uses a toolkit which he calls the “Customer Development Stack.”
The approach of the Customer Development Stack is being taught to students at the University of Stanford, Berkeley, and Columbia as well as to selected scientists from America’s National Science Foundation. In spite of the increasing popularity in use of the Customer Development Stack, my observation is that the Customer Development Stack is far from the “ideal” Business Model Innovation toolkit.
In the presentation below, I take a critical look at the Customer Development Stack. The critique is presented under 3 headings: Structure; Linkages (Functional Analysis); Logic (Predictive Capability). One critique suggests that transformation of “customer habit” should be a goal for Business and Customer Development; in fact, for every change management project. From this perspective, the toolkit of the Customer Development Stack is “hired” to reduce waste while discovering and validating a scalable business model as well as a customer habit engine. Hence, the imperative of “Getting Out Of the Building” to observe and influence customer habit engines while trying to create and transform them. Another critique notes that the process of the Customer Development Stack is weakly integrated with the Vision-Strategy-Product (VSP) Pyramid that is inherent in the approach of Steve Job as well as Eric Ries’s Lean Startup Method.
My final remark is about a question: What would you consider as the characteristics, features, or specs of an Ideal Business Model Innovation Toolkit? For example, how would the Ideal Business Model Toolkit look 30 to 50 years from now?
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