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  • Writer's pictureMike Abbott

Why "getting out of the building" is only part of the story

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

GET OUT OF THE BUILDING! That’s the battle cry of the Lean Startup movement. We love it, but understand it’s only the battle cry. Just like Hooah and Oorah serve to focus, excite, and move people to action on the fields of battle, “Get out of the building” has been doing the same for the legions of innovators taken to the movement. For good reason. Also like the military analogs, this battle cry does nothing to direct strategy, planning, or execution. Unfortunately, too many of us interpret the rallying cry as the prime directive, the end of the story, the strategy in totality.

We have asked thousands to talk to one hundred people on any subject and we always get the same result. They return to tell us with stories of how much they learned. OF COURSE THEY DID! We have never met anyone that’s spoken with one hundred relevant people on the same topic, ever, for any reason. When they do, it’s an eye-opening experience. The depth of information uncovered astonishes anyone who tries. Unfortunately, it’s this result that steers most people in the wrong direction when it comes to designing and executing customer discovery.

I still recall with great clarity when, while working on an undergraduate engineering lab, my professor said to me “Data is great but useless. You need to transform your data into information. Only then can you take action.” This is where get out of the building moves from strategy to battle cry.

It is imperative that any customer discovery effort be managed on a strong infrastructure of hypothesis development and data management. The goal, of course, is to create actionable information rather than collecting interesting data. This means rules. This means structure. This means rigorous analysis.

We have developed tools that leverage Jobs To Be Done, Lean Startup, Design Thinking, and others to accomplish these tasks. Our experience in implementing these tools with thousands of innovation projects has proven their power in creating information for product development, portfolio management, and strategic planning.

Give us a call and let’s talk about how you’re managing your customer data and its translation into actionable information. Uncover hidden opportunities for innovation, understand your in-kind competition, and learn how to attack your out-of-kind competition.

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