Why Design Thinking and Lean Startup are important when starting a business

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Why Design Thinking and Lean Startup are important when starting a business

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Why Design Thinking and Lean Startup are important when starting a business
Dao Wen Chang
5 min
08 Dec. 2021

As an agile, innovation and change management consultancy, we often get requests from clients saying they need Design thinking training, lean startup workshops, agile coach sessions etc.


When we ask them WHY do they need these services, often the answer is that ‘the boss heard or read about it and therefore decided that everyone should learn it.’  


While a company order like that is more than enough to serve as motivation to learn a new skill, the underline issue is that the real answer to our question was, “we don’t really know why, but we need it.”  

For Design Thinking and Lean Startup to be successfully implemented, it is important to understand exactly why and what you need it for.  

Therefore, we want to take the time to share what Design Thinking and Lean Startup are and why they are important to start a business or even take it to the next level.  


What is Design Thinking? 


Design thinking is a human-centered approach that encourages organisations to focus on real user needs. This leads to better products, services, and internal processes. Many businesses fail because they didn’t deliver what users/customers truly desire. Some don’t perform ample user research. Others aren’t sure how to do so and a small group might feel they know better and therefore do not need to seek their customers’ perspectives! 

Regardless, all these groups desire success and the way to that can be highlighted by Design Thinking.  

Design thinking can help you explore these hidden user needs to enhance the probability of success. 

There are many variants of the Design Thinking process in use today. However, all variants embody the same principles. Here, we will apply the five-phase process as follows: 

Credit: https://www.girledworld.com/what-is-design-thinking-2


What is Lean Startup? 


Lean startup is a method for developing businesses and products that aim to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable.  

The key to the lean startup methodology is to create a minimum viable product (MVP) and get customer feedback as quickly as possible.  

The Lean Startup process includes three-stages: 

Credit: businessmodelanalyst.com


Why Design Thinking and Lean Startup are important to start a business?  


As you can see, both approaches are user/customer oriented and aim to help companies reach their goals. Also, iterative cycles are encouraged to deliver value to customers in a more effective and efficient way.  

These can help businesses increase the chance of success, but this gives rise to another important question: ‘when to use what?’ 

Let’s quickly share how we at why innovation! apply these approaches to support our clients’ innovation ambitions. 

When a project is vague at an early stage with many uncertainties, we apply Design Thinking to define what the problems are and explore possible solutions, such as how to improve the customer experience.  

It takes time to deeply understand the challenge as well as the target audience. After several rounds of prototypes and tests, a business idea with a high potential is formed. 

Once the business idea is formed, the next questions is how to make it happen.  


Imagining the business in your meeting room and running it in a real market situation can be very different even though the desirability is considered thoroughly.  

Here, we apply Lean Startup to help businesses create MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and run experiments to validate critical assumptions in the real world. This way, businesses could decide to persevere, stop or pivot the business model earlier to minimize risk as well as resources and maximize impact and potential success.  

To summarize, Design Thinking and Lean Startup are important and helpful approaches to start a business in the ways below but not limited to: 

  1. Determining if there is a market fit for the product or service 
  2. Developing a compelling or innovative product or service  
  3. Ensuring the product or service addresses the customers/users’ needs, expectations and pain points 
  4. Creating a robust business model 
  5. Lowering the risks and increasing the potential of success 

By now, you should have a stronger understanding of what Design Thinking and Lean Startup is. You should also know why you need these trainings and workshops to help your business grow.  

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