Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For? Or… “Lean AND Green”!

Be Careful What You Ask For? Or… “Lean AND Green”!

I’m packing for a trip to Utah for Energize 2013, a cool new energy entrepreneurship conference put on by the Department of Energy-supported Energy Commercialization Center at the U of Utah. It is going to be a rouser, if only for all the people who needed to meet in this space… and now they will. 

I Love Learning!
Given a choice of speaking on growing ecosystems or getting to teach, it was no contest. And to once again help entrepreneurs to learn the lean startup model? And to get to turn them on to the latest tools and resources. OK. I’m in.  Here are my slides (don’t worry, I’ll keep it experiential!) 

[Don’t worry- the organizers expect me to share insights on ecosystems – check my prior blog entry and this ( for a preview. And Idaho's Jessie Speck will handle those duties quite nicely!]

Hmm... 2013 is shaping up to be a very “lean” year! ;) Though I’m hoping that lean doesn’t extend to my income any more than it already does. ;) 

January:  I got to hang out with Steve Blank himself. He gave me “that” look – when are YOU going to do Lean Launchpad in Idaho? You’re the only one who could… Gulp.

No More Amateur Night... Even for Lean!
Even more interesting was the discussion around all of lean’s success… what’s the downside? A fast-growing issue is that it is all too easy to claim expertise. Too many faculty just hand out a copy of Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas and wing it. They really don’t get the entrepreneurial side of it; they certainly don’t get the design thinking part of things. (Even at top schools, how many professors actually grok design thinking? Damned few. How many truly grok deep experiential learning? Even fewer.) If lean is to continue, we have to ensure that those teaching it have the right stuff.  (By the way, check out Quipu Apps for a powerful online tool to support business model work. I am happy to show it off, if you like, Founder Michael Issa has a gem.)

April? Develop.Idaho! (Locals… you are going, yes?)

In May, it looks like I’m finally getting back to Cairo for Startup Weekend Giza… holy mackerel! My Finnish friends and I did a lean/biz model bootcamp during Global Entrepreneurship Week and it was remarkable how quickly they took to it. Some alumni of that class are now doing SW Giza. (I’m hoping to talk a little ecosystem again there too.)

Also in May is the CCSBE conference in Victoria, BC. I hope that I am again “forced” to fly in via Kenmore Air, the seaplane company where we’ll be talking ‘lean’ as part of the ICSB’s new initiative to help our colleagues do cutting-edge online training (

At the end of May, the European Council for Small Business launches “3EC” a major research conference on entrepreneurship education where my Danish colleague Franziska Günzel & I have maybe the first research paper on purposeful experimentation (a/k/a lean). This is turning out to be an insane research area; it’s so much fun surfing the leading edge of the wave!

Franziska & I will present another version of this paper – initially titled “Don’t TASE Me, BRO*” –at the International Council for Small Business annual conference this summer. (If any of you want to see updated versions of this work, ping me & I will send it along.)

In August, though, we have maybe THE ultimate lean workshop. Imagine some of THE leading lights of lean biz model work showing how it applies to social ventures and sustainability. The best minds in social entrepreneurship meet top facilitators in lean. If this doesn’t move the needle, I don’t know what will! [Check out my friends in this: ]

There’s more in 2013 for “lean” – NACCE, World Entrepreneurship Forum, etc. but this is enough to get me very, very excited.

p.s. I would also be very remiss if I did not point out that Isaac Newton was right. If I’m seeing farther, it’s because I stand on the shoulders of giants. And some of them are my colleagues and co-authors: Franziska & Jessie, Gabi Kaffka, Suresh Kumar, Ayman Tarabishy & Geoff Archer.. and wait till I tell you what Les Hayes iw roking on! PLEASE check the links for the others involved in these adventures: Every one is a rock star (some just don’t know it yet!)


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