How to use Lean StartUp in Big Companies

Lean StartUp methods are currently hyped within the startup-scene. But could you use it also in Big Companies? To tell a long story short: Yes, you can! But you must design a startup environment within your company, otherwise things won’t work out so well.

When we talk about Lean StartUp methods we will always talk about making and accepting failure. It is one of the biggest advantages of startups that they accept or even embrace failures. Startups see failure as a chance to learn new things.

When you look at big companies you will see that they behave completely different: They try to avoid failures. They even invest in insurance or stock options to cover their risk. They hate businessplans with high up- and downsides. They always look for the average.

So, here is the question: Is it possible to use Lean StartUp methods in Big Companies?

Yes it is. But you just can build up a new business unit within you company and call it “Lean StartUp”. This is not enough.

You have to build something like Skunk Works. Skunk Works is the legendary alias for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs (ADP). They designed some of the greatest and most ground shaking airplanes in the world. They came up with ideas no one else in the industry even dreamed about. How did they manage this?

By building an environment for startups!

Skunk Works could operate as complete autonomous organization. They were not based in the headquarter of Lockheed (Bethesda, Maryland), but in Palmdale, California where they could find the most creative people. And they did not had to care about bureaucracy or strict regulations from Lockheed.

In other words: They were a free business, which had the chance to make mistakes. And this is what they made successful.

So, before thinking about using Lean StartUp methods in your business, start to think about your possibilities to build your own Skunk Works. Of course it is a risky way – but that’s what startups are about.


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