Photo by Raquel Martínez on Unsplash

Don’t Choose Between Design Thinking, Lean Startup, and Agile When Focusing on Customer Value

Andriy Strogan

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For years, one of the most pressing problems in the minds of executives has been the issue of innovation — what should we do to have more of it? Design thinking, lean startup, and Agile are invariably brought up in the context of increasing customer-centricity and adaptability, two qualities generally thought to increase innovation within organizations. Often these concepts are considered as stand-alone solutions or even competing paths to help organizations become more customer-centric and adaptable. This is, however, a fundamental misunderstanding of how to use these approaches.

Whether in our work for the education, non-profit or financial services sectors, we’re often asked:

  • What is the difference between design thinking, lean startup, and Agile?
  • Which one should I use?

However, these are wrong questions to ask (at the start), because they only scratch the surface of the issue and fail to address the reason why companies turn to these concepts in the first place. To gain a deeper understanding of the value and applicability of these concepts in a given situation it is better to ask:

  • What do design thinking, lean startup, and Agile have in common?

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Andriy Strogan

Driven to uncover the unexpected and bring structure to chaos. Innovation and agile consultant with Juniper — a boutique management consulting firm in Montreal.