We have made great strides in developing and teaching skills and processes that help entrepreneurs figure out how to take their ideas, reduce risks and more efficiently test and validate (or invalidate) they’re assumptions.
As you probably know I’m a huge fan of the lean startup model and customer development. I’m also really happy to see so many young entrepreneurs embracing these concepts and moving forward quickly (testing, pivoting, testing, failing, testing, trying and succeeding).
That said, there is one thing that is worrying me. If you combine these new skills and processes with the extremely low barriers that exist today in terms of launching and building companies from an infrastructure perspective we tend to see fast launching of lot’s and lot’s of somewhat mediocre ideas.
The challenge I see is that we need to find a way to stimulate and increase the creation of truly disruptive ideas.
Don’t confuse this concern, btw, with a potential support for nay sayers of customer development. Periodically people will mention to me “you shouldn’t talk to customers, customers don’t know what they want… if you do that you’ll not get truly visionary concepts”. This is a false argument.
Customer development theory does not imply that you get your vision or ideas only from customer engagements. It is a process that will help you take an existing idea and identify ways to significantly reduce risk and increase efficiency in bringing it to a market (e.g. customers).
My focus lately is how do we go up stream from customer development and start developing processes and techniques that will create truly disruptive ideas. Ideas that will ignite the imagination and change the world.