Lean Startup Meets Design Thinking

This is a one hour conversation between three blokes. But it’s a massively important and interesting one. Kaili Emmrich of Google for Entrepreneurs moderates a hangout featuring Eric Ries (who wrote the seminal startup ‘Bible’ The Lean Startup), Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO and one of the founders of the idea of design thinking), and Jake Knapp of Google Ventures who develops agile methods like design sprints to support startups.

So how does lean, agile and design thinking all fit together? Some great stuff here. Eric Ries opens up by defining entrepreneurship as “the management discipline that deals with the condition of uncertainty.” Tim Brown follows this by defining design thinking as: “through an understanding of people, to craft materials and processes, to create things that meets the needs of people”. The three stages – understanding, craft, creation – are indivisible.

Design and craft students will be familiar with Google’s design sprint methodology as we use this for out modules Change by Design and 21st Century Designer. The Google link above provides materials, resources and information that can be used to run your own Sprint.

Lean Startup is worth understanding. If you’ve not yet read the book, then this video summarises the key concept.


Make a job, don’t take a job


The Creative Society is a UK campaign that has the support of leading figures in the arts, entrepreneurs, politicians from across the political spectrum and policy makers. They are active in nurturing creative talent and helping to promote the policies needed for a creative economy. They have a range of publications available for free download, including Make a job don’t take a job.

They are a campaign rather than a source of business advice, but creative entrepreneurs need to engage with and be active in such campaigns so that their voice is heard.

Module support materials



There are three Pinterest boards set up specifically to support this module:

  • Design enterprise provides links to business support materials and resources.
  • Personal branding and social media has a range of links and resources on how to develop a brand and how to work on a social media strategy.
  • Career planning has information on applying for jobs and internships, writing CVs and general material on the future of work and employment.

The $100 start up


So, can you really start up a business on just $100? In The $100 Startup: Fire Your Boss, Do What You Love and Work Better to Live More, Chris Guillebeau argues that you can (just). While many of the examples he cites are in the digital realm (and to be honest selling a digital product for $100 is fairly doable) the value of the book lies more in how he motivates the reader to think in an enterprising way about what they can do. I’ve read it and would definitely recommend it to students.

Start it up

If you really are serious about being a design entrepreneur, then this book is worth reading. Luke Johnson is grew the Pizza Express chain from 12 restaurants to 250. He is also a chairman of the Royal Society of Arts and the former chairman of Channel 4. This book distills his knowledge and experience into one handy volume.

DJCAD graduate Joanna Montgomery has reviewed this book on her blog. As a successful entrepreneur herself, her views on the book are worth reading.