Are You Aware of the Latest Innovation Trends?

By Elie Habib…

Innovation trends: Lean Startup Innovation, Design Thinking, and the Agile method

Technological evolution is a never-ending cycle of inventions, hype, failure, and success that the people of the technology sector know all too well. Design Thinking, Lean Innovation, and Agile are each different types of innovative approaches that have fundamentally changed the way today’s products are being designed and launched commercially. Each was introduced by various teams, researchers, and firms to bring the customer experience into the product development process – thus optimizing resources and shortening the innovation cycle. It is almost inconceivable today to find a team that doesn’t utilize the Agile method in designing software or that doesn’t use the concepts of Lean Startup to accelerate innovation in a resource-efficient manner. All the while, these teams leverage the techniques of Design Thinking to better understand customer challenges.

However, we understand that these terms can be confusing, with potential overlap in their usage and application.  Executives and company leaders need to understand the differences and complementarity of these concepts:

Lean Startup methodology, using Eric Ries’s words “teaches you how to drive a startup – how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere – and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development.

The method is being used by small and large companies alike to spur a culture of innovation, introduce products that customers actually want, and validate business models that create value.

According to “Moves the Needle”, an innovation-centric global organization, lean innovation “combines the creativity of Design Thinking, the  rigor of Lean Startup, and the discipline of Agile to empower large enterprises to discover and deliver new value.

Design Thinking is an iterative process that thrives to uncover users’ pain and challenges and consequently designs solutions that work. The method is divided into five stages:

  • Empathize: create empathy with direct and indirect users
  • Define: identify unique insights
  • Ideate: ideate various potential solutions
  • Prototype: iterate creative solutions
  • Test: release the solution that works

According to Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO: “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

Agile, mostly used in software development, is a set of methodologies where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross-functional teams. The Agile Method promotes a disciplined project management approach – with frequent inspection and adaptation, iterative code development, and engineering and business best practices – all leading to rapid delivery of higher quality products to customers. Scrum is a lightweight sub-process of Agile and the most widely used for software development. Scrum process allows its users to:

  • Increase the quality of the deliverables
  • Cope better with change (and anticipate those changes)
  • Provide more accurate estimates while spending less time creating them
  • Better control the project schedule and state

The three approaches to innovation, at their core, take the final user into account, deliver solutions through faster iteration in smaller chunks, and ensure that the final product is what the users want and need.

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