B2B users should begin with a "Learn" step... then Build-Measure-Learn
It’s a good thing when our clients explore Lean Startup, because we see in it a “kindred spirit” to New Product Blueprinting: Learn from your prospective customers before you commit to what you’ll offer them. This keep-your-mind-open-and-wallet-shut approach boosts new product success and shortens timelines.
At the same time, we recommend this “adjustment” for B2B suppliers: Instead of applying a Build-Measure-Learn cycle, employ a Learn-Build-Measure-Learn cycle:
When you begin with “Build,” you are starting with a hypothesis of what customers want, which often makes sense for consumer products. Imagine you’re developing a new computer game. Until consumers actually experience your product (or its prototype), how could they predict whether they will be entertained? So if you are developing a B2C product that is designed to increase a consumer’s amusement, comfort, taste sensation or sense of self-worth, you’ll want to stick with the pure Lean Startup approach.
But imagine you are developing a new welding machine for auto assembly. Your customers could foresee their needs before they experience your product. You could learn that customers wanted faster welding rates, less spatter, reduced metal pre-cleaning, and lower energy consumption… before they ever saw a physical prototype or minimum viable product.
So for knowledgeable B2B customers driven by hard economics, you should begin with “Learn” before “Build.” You can do this nicely with New Product Blueprinting’s B2B-optimized voice-of-customer (VOC) interviews and observation.
For more, download the AIM white paper, Lean Startup for B2B.
Keywords: lean startup, B2B, B2C, New Product Blueprinting, build, measure, learn