The Startup Way | Eric Ries

Summary of: The Startup Way: Making Entrepreneurship a Fundamental Discipline of Every Enterprise
By: Eric Ries


Dive into the world of Eric Ries’ The Startup Way, where entrepreneurship meets traditional enterprise to foster innovation and agility. This book summary explores Ries’ approach to revitalizing established organizations with the same principles that enable start-ups to succeed, such as minimum viable products, experimentation, and pivoting. Learn how to implement the five steps of his Lean Startup methodology and incorporate valuable insights from case studies drawn from large corporations. Discover how this book offers practical guidance that results in long-term value creation, even though implementation may vary across organizations.

The Startup Way

Eric Ries shows how established companies can use principles from The Lean Startup to become innovative businesses.

In The Startup Way, Eric Ries expands on his previous book, The Lean Startup, and explains how established companies can transform into agile and innovative businesses by adopting start-up principles. Ries emphasizes that successful companies need to maintain an entrepreneurial spirit while also focusing on their core business.

To achieve this balance, Ries suggests discarding traditional management styles and short-term forecasts and instead implementing approaches that work with untested products in unknown markets. Ries introduces the five steps of his Lean Startup methodology to embed the entrepreneurial mindset in businesses.

The first step is to articulate a leap-of-faith assumption, or LOFA, that underlies the business plan. The second step is to create a minimum viable product, or MVP, that serves as a prototype to test the LOFAs. MVPs allow companies to learn quickly and cost-effectively whether their products respond to customer needs.

Ries recommends repeating these steps until the product meets customer demand and is scalable. To ensure continual progress, regular meetings are scheduled where the team decides whether to persevere, pivot, or abandon the project. Ries reminds readers that this cycle of experimentation and learning may look like continual failures but stresses that quick learning and adjustment are vital to create a successful product that meets customer needs.

Ultimately, the goal of The Startup Way is to enable the entire organization to function as a portfolio of start-ups. By following Ries’s methodology, established companies can become innovative businesses that are agile and capable of adapting to changing markets.

Road to Transformation

Ries, in the second part of his book, outlines the key steps to ensure successful company transformation. Starting off with pilot projects that promote collaborative work styles, he emphasizes the importance of training team members to execute effective experiments and interpret relevant metrics. With innovation being unpredictable, Ries suggests involving senior leaders in project teams to make quicker decisions. Having supporters at the executive level helps to bypass red tape. Lastly, he advises providing formal training to executives from all departments to ensure a successful and efficient transformation.

Innovative Funding and Accounting

In his book, Ries advocates for “metered funding” where teams get an initial funding amount and have to meet specific criteria to get further funding. This approach keeps teams focused on learning, encourages innovation, and prevents blame-shifting while minimizing middle management involvement. Ries also recommends “Innovation Accounting (IA)” that considers metrics driving growth and helps assess the likelihood of success. To support entrepreneurial culture, Ries suggests setting up central entrepreneurial function that works alongside HR, legal, and IT functions. In summary, established organizations need to modify their systems and processes to spur innovation.

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