Notes from Day 1 of the #LeanStartup Conference 2013

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IMG_5109It was an amazing first day of the Lean Startup conference yesterday in San Francisco. Videos will be available online soon, but for now I can share some notes I took during the main stage sessions in this Google Doc  (or download as a PDF).

This blog also has summaries  of many of the talks.

Some of the highlights:

  • Toyota had two engineers (pictured at left) talk about their use of Lean Startup methods to help develop a new dashboard mobile entertainment system, including their admission that their team in Mountain View, CA had never talked to customers before.
  • Brian Frezza of Emerald Therapeutics talked about using Lean Startup concepts to improve a biotech research process for new medications
  • Robin Chase‘s story about the original “minimum viable product” for ZipCar (one car parked in front of her house with keys on her porch)
  • How GE is embracing Lean Startup concepts in the design and manufacturing of new products
  • Other examples from non-profit organizations and government initiatives

I will write some longer blog posts about some of these talks soon.

I think my breakout session talk on continuous improvement went well. I'll consider it a success if I hear people from startups utilizing Kaizen methods in their organizations (and hopefully we'll hear reports of this at next year's conference, if not sooner).

lean startup graban

Some tweets that encapsulated some key points, thanks to those who shared:

#leanstartup words of wisdom via @MarkGraban : To get to continuous improvement, get ur team to refuse to ever be happy w where they are.

Keeping things visible and transparent engages people to work together to solve the problem(s) – @markgraban #LeanStartup #hcldr #mHealth13

“It's hard to build culture of continuous improvement when people have been asked to check their brain at the door” @MarkGraban #LeanStartup

“Keeping things visible and transparent engages people to work together to solve the problem(s)” @markgraban at #LeanStartup

.@markgraban “We don't get results by enforcing best practices on people, but by creating engaged people.” #LeanStartup cc @unbounce

I'll be taking more notes tomorrow, including John Shook‘s talk on changing the culture at NUMMI. Should be, again, an exciting day.


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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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