Entrepreneurship blogs agree: Fail fast!

What is a lean startup? How can you best visualize a business model? How can innovation performance metrics be improved? Who were voted the best innovation bloggers in 2010? And what are some other collections of good innovation links that are published regularly? Click here to get some suggestions on great innovation links.
Marcus’s favorite link this time around: Steve Blanks blog on customer discovery and validation.

Who are the best innovation bloggers in 2010? That was the question of this online poll. Now the results are in, so if you’re interested head over to Blogging innovation and check out to the summary and links to the bloggers. I think all the top 10 are worth checking out periodically, and a personal favorite among them is Scott Anthony.

Customer discovery and validation.

As I spent the last week in Silicon Valley, it seems fitting to recommend a number of good blogs related to growth-oriented entrepreneurship. My recent favorite blog is the blog of Steve Blanks, a serial entrepreneur who has built a handful of high-tech startups, has become very wealthy and now spends his time telling other entrepreneurs about his experiences and methods. Indeed, he seems very influential in the Valley – both on Stanford and among VCs. His core ideas are built on the insight that while many firms have a systematic process from product development, most everyone lacks the corresponding systematic process for customer discovery and validation. So all entrepreneurs should check out his blog – here – and read at least chapter 3: Customer discovery, of his book (free download of chapter 1-4). One particular strength of Steve Blanks that many people tend to appreciate is the extremely hands-on advice. For example: What hours should you call to get a hold of senior executives in your customer firms? – After their secretaries are finished for the day! ;-)

A popular blog with a similar approach to Steve Blank’s is that of Eric Reis, the founder of the term ‘lean startups’ and more great ideas on how to “fail quickly and cheaply”.

ReadWriteStart is a third blog on entrepreneurship that consistently tends to deliver good stuff. As a good example, check out this post with many links to case stories of failed startups. In particular this link which has a collection of no less than 25 interesting failed startup stories. Or why not this recent post listing “the 4 M’s of attracting investors to your startup.”

Everyone working in the field of innovation management probably has heard of the razor-and-blade business model allegedly introduced by Gillette. What most probably don’t know is the complicated and non-intuitive story of how the company long resisted implementing that business model while they were most suited to do so. If you want to know more of what really happened, read this captivating case story of how the business model developed, posted at Harvard Business Review (ppt-summary).

For more inspiration on clever business models, why not read about this one on how the problem of online spam has created some interesting profit-opportunities for producers of so-called CAPTCHAs.

How to visualize the description of a business model.

Lastly, on the topic of business models, if you haven’t seen it already you should check out this video by Tom Hulme at IDEO who gives some advice on how to visualize the description of a business model.

Turning to corporate innovation the last weeks had some pretty cool blog posts. Blogging innovation is as always a good source of a large variety of authors and topics. My favorite this time around is the series of posts about the current state of the topic of innovation management, whether it is a fad and which type of companies (in the terms of Roger’s theory of innovation diffusion) are currently implementing contemporary innovation management practices (part 2). Another is the 14 ways to spark innovation by Mitch Ditkoff.

Regarding the specific challenges facing corporate innovation, why not also check out the 10 key elements of an idea management system at Front end of innovation. Or if your trying to assess the effectiveness of your system, look at this post on the problem with using innovation metrics and how to improve said metrics at Innovation leadership network.

Do you like collections of links of interesting blog posts? Then you should check out Havas Media Lab’s ‘Disruptive Landscape’ recommended blog posts. It tends to update once a week of so, and often has a couple of good reads in every batch.

By now many of you have surely seen the viral video about where good ideas come from (4 min). It is a great visualization of a speech by Steve Johnson and definitely worth seeing if you haven’t done so already. Here is a more extensive TED-talk version with similar content.

The last post of this column.

Finally, I should let you know that this will be the last post in this column. It has been a great experience and thank you all for all the good comments and emails in response to my comments and links. Hopefully, I will be back at InnovationManagement.se in other contexts in the future. If you have enjoyed the column this far, feel free to subscribe to my shared items list on Google Reader or to check out my personal website at marcuslinder.com, on which I will post the most interesting stuff I find online on from now on.

About Marcus Linder

Marcus LinderMarcus researches environmental innovation among industrial firms at Chalmers University of Technology. Focus areas include strategic rationale and the practical how-to of including environmental aspects in the innovation process. An important starting point is that profitable environmental innovation often requires more than just “quick-fixing” a firm’s existing offers. Theoretically, Marcus is grounded in the problem-solving perspective on management, a subset of the knowledge-based view of the firm. In terms of applied innovation management, his main passion lies in business model design. He is currently employed as a PhD student at Center for Business Innovation at Chalmers University of Technology. Before starting his PhD studies, Marcus successfully performed a business innovation project at CBI culminating in a new product concept now planned for market introduction by Göteborg Energi.
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