One of our founders, KK Tse, is going to start a brand new book-writing experience in his blogs. Striving to promote the use of Lean Startup approach to the business and NGO sector, KK hopes to create bigger social impact with this book, yet in a ground-breaking and interactive way.
In this blog, you can find out more about his approach to his new book and learn more about the Lean Startup approach.
Lean Startup for Social Impact
Strategies for New and Established Businesses to Change the World
Thank you for joining this journey with us to co-create this book for a better world. Yes, you, who care about the future of our society, are going to be one of the authors because your feedback and input will be incorporated in this book.
In this blog, I will try to answer the following questions:
- What do I intend to cover in the book?
- Why do I think this book is relevant and useful to you?
- How am I going to write this book? – with your involvement
1. What will be covered in this book
Let’s begin with the key words in the title:
- Lean Startup
- Social Impact
- New and Established Businesses
You may or may not have heard of Lean Startup. But I could tell you that it is a must-master methodology if you are interested in creating social impact and changing the world.
The term Lean Startup has become visible and popular only since 2011 when the book The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries (London: Portfolio Penguin, 2011) was first published.
Since then, Lean Startup has become a global movement. More information and news updates could be found at: http://theleanstartup.com/
We all know that the success rate of startups is very low, which is only 10% max. But if you can apply the lean startup methodology successfully in your startup, the success rate could be as high as 60-70%. That’s the potential power and benefit of learning and mastering this methodology.
What is more, the Lean Startup approach is not only applicable to new startups, but can be used for established businesses (large or small) in developing new products and services as well. Furthermore, the approach can be used not only for the business sector, but equally applicable to NGOs, social enterprises, government departments, schools and universities, etc.
So the primary focus of this book is to introduce the concept, principles, and skills in mastering the Lean Startup methodology.
The Lean Startup approach is powerful. No doubt about it. But who are using it and what for? Up to this moment, the Lean Startup methodology has been used by for-profit businesses. Nothing wrong about it as such. But it is far more desirable and beneficial to the world if it can be used by social-purpose organizations, like social enterprises or NGOs, etc. But unfortunately, this is not happening. Why?
The answer is simple. Although it is not particularly hard to learn and master the Lean Startup methodology, it requires more than just reading a few books or watching some video clips. For most people, it requires some systematic training and coaching. But who could provide the training and coaching? Currently, only a small number of training consultants are doing it and they are concentrated in a small number of metropolitan cities. It is fairly expensive as well. As a result, these training consultants are only serving established businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs who are ready to pay for the service in anticipation of major return.
There are hardly any training consultants who are providing similar services to social-purpose organizations. You might call this a market failure. As a consequence, organizations and individuals who want to create social impact might not have the opportunity to learn and master this methodology.
In Hong Kong, Education for Good CIC Ltd. is the only organization providing training and coaching to social enterprises and NGOs in harnessing the Lean Startup approach to launch new ventures and revamp existing services. We have also teamed up with the Non-profit Incubator (NPI) in mainland China to introduce the methodology to social-purpose organizations through training programs in Hong Kong and China. But we need a strategy to make it more accessible to organizations and individuals which are keen to create social impact. This is what we intend to explore in this book.
Hence the central theme of the book is: harnessing the Lean Startup approach to make it easier and more effective for social-purpose organizations to create social impact.
New and established businesses
I deliberately highlight both new and established businesses, for some good reasons.
First, the Lean Startup approach is useful for launching brand new businesses.
Second, this approach could also be profitably used by established businesses (or any organizations) to develop new products, services, or new businesses.
Third, one of the greatest opportunities for Lean Startup for social impact is for mainstream businesses to launch new business ventures which could create positive impacts on the society.
This ties in nicely to the rising B Corp movement. We are witnessing a growing number of mainstream businesses transforming themselves into B Corps. This is most encouraging, and the momentum is growing. But for many established businesses, especially the larger ones, the transition could be a long and complicated process. One strategy is for these businesses to set up new businesses which build on the core competencies of the parent company but focus on creating social impact. For this purpose, the established business can harness the power of the Lean Startup approach.
In our book, we will argue that all mainstream businesses should consider launching new businesses for social good. Whether or not they will eventually become certified B Corps is not important. The Lean Startup approach will greatly facilitate this effort.
2. Why I think this book will be relevant and useful to you:
a) If you are keen to harness business to create social impact, learn and master the Lean Startup methodology.
b) Once you have mastered it, you could either use it to launch your own social ventures or propose to your employer to set up a new business that could address some burning social and/or environmental issues; you do not have to quit your job, but you could play a different role.
c) For young people who would like to seek meaningful career, you should invest time and effort to learn and master the Lean Startup approach so that you could either create your own business, or contribute to the success of new ventures that are creating social impact.
3. How I am going to write this book
I have written more than ten books in my life. This will become the most important one by far. And I will write in a new way.
The tentative publication date of the book will be April 2, 2018. Before that date I will release the contents of the book via this blog. You as the reader are invited to comment on any parts of the book, make suggestions on the contents, style of presentation, depth/breadth, or any aspects which you think could improve book. I will consider all your suggestions seriously though I will not be able to respond one-by-one.
I have roughly 50% of the book in draft form already. Some of it has been published in different media but those materials will be refined and integrated before publication.
As you could tell from the above, the prime focus of this book is the Lean Startup methodology. In this book, there will be a real life case study which will be unfolded at the same time as the book is written.
Education for Good CIC Ltd. and Dialogue in the Dark (Hong Kong) Ltd. have just set up a joint venture to develop a new business – Inclusive Sport. Naturally, we will be using the Lean Startup approach. I will be sharing with the readers how the project will proceed, from building and training the startup team, to using the Lean Startup approach to create the lean canvas, designing and testing MVPs (minimum viable products), finding the paying customers, creating channels to market our products, determining pricing strategies, raising capital, managing cash flow, building the operating team, etc. etc.
You may think of it as a Reality Show. The purpose is to bring the lean startup approach to life and show how it works (or not work). I am sure you will find it educational, entertaining, and exciting.
The success rate of lean startup approach is about 60-70%. It means there is a chance that we could fail. However, if we fail, we fail fast and take some good lessons for all of us too.
Anyway, I am thrilled to have you accompanying me in this journey.
As I have never done anything like this before, let’s find our way while crossing the river.
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