Lesson 3: Lean Canvas

Eric Ries is the author of “The Lean Startup” and a pioneer in the area of methodically starting new businesses. In this lesson, we’re going to begin to explore and apply his methodology.

The Lean Startup

The interview below includes entrepreneurs Jason Calacanis and Eric Ries as they discuss the origins of the Lean Startup movement.

The Lean Canvas

In our last class we identified four steps to create a business:

  • Understand the Problem:
  • Define the Solution:
  • Validate Qualitatively:
  • Verify Quantitatively:

The steps above provide us with a good starting point for generating business ideas, but to bring a real business to market, we need a slightly more detailed plan. This is where the Lean Canvas comes into play.

The lean canvas views 9 different aspects of running a business from solving a problem to serving the customer. See an example below:

running leanThe Lean Canvas Case Study

In Chapter 3 (page 25) of Ash Maurya’s Running Lean, he examines how he used the Lean Canvas for one of his businesses “CloudFire” a precursor to Google Drive or DropBox. As a class, let’s read the first four steps to see how he put this plan into action.

Afterward, we’ll break into small groups to do the same for one of several business ideas below.

Write Your Own Lean Canvas

Open the blank lean canvas that has been shared with you via Google Classroom, and complete the first four steps with your group partners for one of the business ideas below:

  • Sneaker Keeper: a sneaker cleaning service for teens
  • Cafeteria Waiter: in-school food delivery, no waiting in line, food served to table
  • Stuff Checker: a coat check service for anything you don’t want to bring with you when you go out to lunch
  • Smiling Laces: online shoelace store
  • American Handkerchief Company: online handkerchief store
  • Teen Tech Tutors: one-on-one technology tutoring for the not-so-tech-savvy
  • Peer Fit: one-on-one personal training for the unathletic
  • Open Lunch Delivery: open lunch delivered in-school to underclassmen and busy upperclassmen
  • Backyard Movie Night: outdoor theater rental company for your backyard (big screen, projector, and great sound)
  • Phone Patrol: android “rooting” and iOS “jailbreaking” service
  • Fashion Swap: subscription based clothes sharing company

Lean Canvas Segment Definitions Project

Follow each of the steps below to complete the requirements for the Lean Canvas Segment Definitions Project.

Startup s01e02