Lean or “Customer Development” – Get Out of the Office
Thanks to Patrick Vlaskovits, a guest in my Podcast episode #99, for posting a photo of a Southwest Airlines magazine blurb about Steve Blank, author of the outstanding book The Four Steps to the Epiphany on “customer development” for Lean Startups.
The item about the importance of getting out of the office applies to entrepreneurs as well as it does to a manager or leader in any hospital or business.
Here is Patrick's photo of the article (the left column):
The article mentions anthropology, a key contributor to the IDEO design methodology that involves observing customers living their everyday lives, much as Toyota has done in its own product development efforts.
Get out of your office. Go and see. Don't make assumptions – look for facts and reality in the “gemba” (the Japanese word for “the real place”).
Assumptions (and guesses) lead to all sorts of waste and bad decisions. It leads to employees getting demoralized (their leaders are out of touch) and it leads to startups going in the wrong direction if they are making guesses instead of really understanding their customers.
Such a simple idea, but so rarely practiced.
What are you doing to get out of the office? Is “we don't have time” a common excuse? If so, what can you do to free up time?