Great things take time. A year from when I was invited to Stanford to be trained by Steve Blank, we finally made it! This week, I started to teach the Lean Launchpad curriculum at the University of Cologne, more specifically at the recently launched university incubator named “Gateway” – the perfect place for it.
In co-operation with the incubator, we decided to go for the intensive 5 day / 1 week version of the Lean Launchpad and use it as a pre-qualifier and a bootcamp of entrepreneurial education for student teams that wanted to apply to the new incubator.
It was quite an exciting mixed bag of applicants slash participants. Here are some of the projects they came in with:
- A Flying Car
- A Healthy Fastfood Franchise
- A Pinterest for the Fashion Industry
- A Food Recipe Shopping Companion App
Thanks to Marc Kley, hgnc and Gateway for making it happen!
- Most students around here haven’t heard about the Lean Startup yet
- Those who’ve heard about it often think it is only about Agile Engineering (Hint: It’s also Business Model Engineering and Customer Development – and you have to do all three)
- Doing customer interviews is a special form of torture to most, perhaps especially in Germany
- Teaching people not to sell, not to pitch to customers is hard, hard, hard
- Clear correlation of willingness and ability to talk to customers and progress (“a-ha!” learning experiences)
- The 5 day / 1 week version of the Lean Launchpad (LLP) is good for crash course style basic education
- This LLP version is well-suited for focussing exclusively on problem-fit – a reality check – (in)validating if you are solving a real (and big) problem or need
- One week is too short to push the teams significantly forward towards a problem-solution and product-market fit
- If you a need crash course where your goals are purely educational, go for the 1 week LLP
- If you need to move teams significantly towards problem-solution and product-market fit, say if you’re an accelerator or incubator that gets measured on success rate, go for the 5 or 12 week LLP
About the Lean Launchpad curriculum
The Lean Launchpad program is a highly experiential and evidence-based entrepreneurship curriculum developed by the father of Lean Startup, Steve Blank taught at Berkeley and Stanford and in corporations as a pre-acceleration program in global F100 corporations like Deutsche Telekom and governmental organizations like The National Science Foundation(NSF) and its I-Corps accelerator.
For universities, the goal of the Lean Launchpad program is to equip students with the skills, knowledge and actual experience in validating a business idea and building a startup using the scientific method, filling the gap of the standard MBA and creating more capable entrepreneurs. For corporations, incubators and accelerators it’s an investment in early-stage risk management and new KPIs to assess and filter. By requiring ventures to go through the LLP before being allocated more time and resources insures that the applicants have the right knowledge, skills and experience in building a startup and that the venture has reached a certain maturity level (KPI), like validated product-market fit, before committing to acceleration.
And the LLP enables you to learn faster. Much faster: 10x the number of conventional innovation venture initiatives in 1/5 the time – A 50x speedup kind of fast. NSF, the $ 7b fund, went from a 18% funding rate to over 60% in fundable ventures after requiring applicants to take the Lean Launchpad program before applying.
The Lean LaunchPad curriculum is currently taught at over 200 universities and at over 40 incubators and accelerators worldwide and it is available as a 1, 5 or12 weeks syllabus – depending on scope, depth and your goals.
The 1, 5 or 12 week program consists of 5 full, 5 half-day or12 half-day classes respectively moderated by an LLP Educator with hands-on homework between each weekly class, while mentors remain available online (Skype, mobile, email) to clarify issues that come up in between classes.
To maximize learning, the course uses a flipped classroom approach: Short lectures outline the core concepts during class but most of the time is spent outside of the classroom doing practical, hands-on homework in between, learning outside the classroom, learning in the the actual market.
I am available as an official LLP educator for universities, incubators, accelerators and corporate innovation programs. Shoot me an email to talk about how we can work together.