Let’s be honest. For many organizations, even daily operations have become a survival-level struggle. Businesses everywhere are being severely tested by the pandemic and its devastation. Whether you’re working to bring in revenue in spite of social distancing, struggling to add capacity and keep up with demand, or facing any other set of new challenges, there is a strong imperative for everyone to think and behave more creatively.

That imperative has created an opening for leaders to bring innovation into the spotlight and drive this mindset across the entire organization. People are looking for strong leadership right now. They want…


How do you spot an innovator? Which characteristics should you look for in a business environment where almost nothing ever slows down?

One certainty is that a culture of innovation allows companies to surf the massive waves of change currently rippling through technology, society, and commerce. If you don’t already have one, the road to reshaping culture is a tall order under any conditions, but especially for companies that have traditionally favored predictability over risk-taking.

Each time we’ve succeeded in working through management puzzles that others simply couldn’t, I’ve looked deeply into the factors that made it possible. …


Christopher Lochhead values standing out over fitting in. He wants entrepreneurs to create markedly different products, not just better versions of old standbys. His #1 charting podcasts, “Follow Your Different” and “Lochhead on Marketing,” and bestselling books Niche Down: How To Become Legendary By Being Different and Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets instruct entrepreneurs on developing and dominating new categories of products and services-and shifting consumer paradigms in the process. Lochhead eschews conventional marketing wisdom and evangelizes “category design,” which he calls “a secret art built on the thinking of legends.”

Lean Startup Co…


Heather McGough Origin Story

Fourteen years ago, at the age of 24, I’d finished college and some nonprofit work in the southeast United States. Afterward, I headed back into my parents’ house in the midwest, as I considered my next move. Should I go to law school? Nah. Become a pharmaceutical rep? Nope. I had an idea to move out west to California to further my nonprofit career, but I was told I definitely shouldn’t move to San Francisco. Too expensive.

It was curiosity, independence, and being a confident explorer that brought me here. I was fortunate enough to borrow…


Chris Guest (left) and Ryan Caldbeck (right) during a fireside chat at the Lean Startup Conference 2019

We recently hosted a podcast conversation between Ryan Caldbeck, Founder & CEO at CircleUp, and Chris Guest, Lean Startup Co. Advisor, focused on what it’s like as a CEO to take your company through a major pivot. The podcast conversation comes in two parts. Part one and part two here.

All Growth, No Engine

After launching in 2012, CircleUp was thriving as a marketplace where investors could find and invest in consumer companies. With more than 20 months of growth, investors were happy. But founder Ryan Caldbeck wasn’t so sure. …


This is the story of how a man named Luke spent a mere three months, and six percent of his allotted budget, to come up with an evidence-based plan to add millions to his company’s bottom line.

Luke works for a leading Australian insurer that underwrites over $11 billion in annual premiums. It’s a company that recently launched an innovation incubator designed to produce fresh, customer-oriented products and services. …


South Africa has a big problem on its hands. Even though they make up less than 1% of the world’s population, they have one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world. It’s a problem that’s compounded over time. Every year, nearly two-thirds of young people who enter the job market end up unemployed, resulting in a population of between six and nine million unemployed young people.

It’s a problem not easily solved. It’s not just a matter of not having enough jobs or a lack of the right type of education — although, those are big problems. But…


There are few industries as steeped in traditional, old-school practices as publishing. Many of the major publishing houses have been around for tens (if not hundreds) of years and still haven’t really changed their business structures or publishing methods. But for Bec Evans, that just means there’s a lot of potential for things to become a bit more interesting.

Bec has spent her entire career working in and around the world of writing and publishing. She was managing a writer’s retreat when she had an idea for an app that would help writers complete their writing projects. By digging into…


About a year and a half ago, Sahil Lavingia moved from San Francisco to Provo, Utah-which he says is “the most unique thing” about him at the moment. He did so after his company Gumroad went from a high-flying startup to laying off 75% of its staff and, as Lavingia says, going through “that whole sort of failure cycle.” He had founded Gumroad to enable creators of all types-filmmakers, musicians, writers, designers-to sell directly to anyone, and the e-commerce platform has lead to sales totaling $193M for the creative people who form its user base. He wrote about his move…


We recently hosted a webcast conversation between Julie, Justin and Hisham focused on building a product designed to bring biotechnology — an area of science typically only accessible to experts in the field — to non-experts and beginners.

Don’t have time for the full webcast now? Catch the webcast highlights and tips from their conversation in our companion blog below.

If you’d like to read the full transcript of Hisham Ibrahim’s conversation with Julie Legault and Justin Pahara, you may download it.

Discovering a Problem with Being a Beginner

When Julie Legault was a masters student at the MIT Media Lab, she was encouraged to try new…

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