Lean Stack 2.0 — The Art of the Scientist and The Customer Factory

Since writing about Lean Stack (our innovation accounting framework), it has been downloaded by thousands of teams, and we’ve had first-hand experience (by way of workshops and bootcamps) putting it into practice across hundreds of teams ranging from startups to large enterprises.

I hosted a Google Hangout event yesterday (video below) to share what we learned and to release the next iteration of Lean Stack, which will possibly also be released as an online tool.

Here are the major highlights:


The main theme of this iteration was simplification.

Perfection is achieved, not where there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

We gutted down the current version of Lean Stack and built it back up — ruthlessly removing unneeded complexity.

We ended up with just two boards:

  1. Lean Canvas: Captures your long-term vision
  2. Experiments Board: Serves as your day-to-day tactical dashboard

The Art of the Scientist

A big problem I’ve repeatedly encountered is that while the mechanics of running experiments is now better understood, crafting effective experiments that lead to breakthrough insights is still more art than science.

This is an area I’m spending a lot of time on lately and drawing upon metaphors both from science and manufacturing. You saw some of this in my last post. I’m taking a series of new workshops on the road in the coming weeks and months (more details in the video).

The Customer Factory

The Experiments Board uses a Customer Factory metaphor to highlight macro metrics that matter which I believe greatly helps to bring the right focus to your experiments.

This isn’t just a cute picture. Rather, I believe it opens up the door to a systems approach to building scalable business models. Something I’ll cover in future posts.

Online Tool

And finally, I shared some screenshots of what an online version of Lean Stack might look like. If you’ve been following the story, you know we opted to use posters as the MVP and keynote/PowerPoint templates to avoid building something nobody wants.

There’s been enough customer validation for Lean Stack and some demand for an online tool. We’re starting the vetting process to see if there’s a real business case for an online tool. We are specifically asking ourselves and our customers: “Why Online?”.

I highlighted some reasons why an online version makes sense during the event and would love to get your feedback in the comments section below.

If we build this, I will be looking to repeat history. I posted a call for help getting a quick MVP built for Lean Canvas two years ago. One of the people who answered that call was Lukas Fittl, all the way from Vienna. He is now a full-time Spark59er.

If you are interested in taking this on, drop me a note at ash@spark59.com.
(This will be a rails app.)

Full Video

[iframe width=”560" height=”315" src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/j8Gsq-rVH_8" frameborder=”0" allowfullscreen]

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