Do you speak Start-up?

Here are some useful terms and phrases you might like to familiarize yourself with

Agile: Agile Project Management (APM) is an iterative approach to planning and guiding project processes. Just as in Agile Software Development, an Agile project is completed in small sections... The main benefit of Agile Project Management is its ability to respond to issues as they arise. Ambidextrous: (Organizational) ambidexterity refers to an organization’s ability to be efficient in its management of today’s business and also adaptable for coping with tomorrow’s changing demand. Assumptions / Hypothesis: Something taken for granted, or accepted as being true without proof or evidence. Asking yourself, “if we do X then will Y happen?” Bootstrapping: A form of financing a start-up largely via “friends, fools and family” or from initial sales revenues, but certainly avoiding equity investments such as Angels and Venture Capitalists. Business Model: A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value, in economic, social, cultural or other contexts. It is made up of 9 building blocks which can be plotted on a ‘business model canvas’.

Business Plan: A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. Customer Development: Is a methodology to discover and validate that you have identified the market for your product, built the right product features that solve customers’ needs, tested the correct methods for acquiring and converting customers and deployed the right resources to scale the business. Steve Blank created this method. Discovery: A critical phase of the innovation process where you try to prove you are solving a real problem for a real customer in a feasible way, especially by using the Lean Start-up methodology. Design Thinking: A discipline that uses a designers sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Disruption: When an innovation has a huge impact on an existing market or business model, often rendering the incumbents obsolete (e.g. Blockbuster vs Netflix). Experiment: Just as in science, an experiment is a way of testing if a preconceived hypothesis (driven by an assumption) is true or false. Over 40 “lean experiment” types exist with each one being unique to the hypothesis being tested. Hackathon: An event (usually up to 48 hrs) where (mostly tech people) come together to collaborate and compete on building MVP solutions to a particular problem or challenge. A lot of Red Bull is consumed. Ideation: The process of forming ideas or concepts, before executing them. It is the first phase of the Innovation Process before the Discovery Phase. Incubation: The third phase of the Innovation Process (after Ideation and Discovery) where you are trying to prove if your solution has achieved “product-market fit” meaning you have a suitable solution, which the market is demanding from you. Innovation: Is not invention in itself, but rather invention x commercialisation. To be able to commercialise an invention, i.e. to earn money from new ideas by offering it in a sustainable way, is to innovate. Innovation Accounting: Innovation accounting refers to the rigorous process of defining, empirically measuring and communicating the true progress of innovation – such as customer retention and usage patterns - whether for start-up companies, for new products or business units within established companies.

Innovation Metrics: Non traditional business KPI’s and metrics used to measure innovation activity such as number of customers spoken to, speed of running experiments, number of validated assumptions, number of pivots etc. Intrapreneur: Someone who acts like an entrepreneur but within an existing organisation. Gifford Pinchot the 3rd who also wrote the book “Intrapreneuring” coined the term. Jobs to be Done: Is a phrase used to help re-frame what the purpose of a solution / product / service/ offering is being ‘hired’ to do: “what job am I hiring this product to do”? It was coined by Clayton Christensen. Lean Start-up: A scientific approach to creating and managing start-ups to get a desired product to customers’ hands faster. The method teaches you how to drive a start-up and how to steer, when to turn and when to persevere and grow a business with maximum acceleration. MVP: Stands for minimum viable product. If you are not embarrassed by your first release, then it means you are not launching early enough. Pitch: This is how an entrepreneur explains their business model to prospective investors in the hope of receiving support and financing. There is a 30 second “elevator” pitch as well as a 7 min pitch or a full 20 min pitch depending on the format. The entrepreneur explains a compelling story addressing the problem, solution and market amongst other important factors. Pivot: When you take a serious change in business direction. This may mean changing your customer segment or solving an entirely different problem and can cause the rest of your business model to change also. You will pivot if you have proven a critical assumption to be wrong and therefore your idea is in grave danger of not working. Pretotype: Comes before Prototype. It’s a way to invoke a behavioural reaction from your target customer allowing you to measure their reaction to something e.g. watching a fake video of how your solution works. The phrase “fake it until you make it” is often used to express pretotyping. Prototype: The stage after Pretotype. It’s a way to measure your target customers behaviour whilst they are interacting with an early version of your solution, which has functional parts to it. Silicon Valley: Region in San Francisco, California that is considered to be the technology hub of the United States. The region is made up of a number of computer companies and computer chip manufacturers. The region gets its nickname from the silicon that is used in computer chips. Start-up: An organisation that has not yet found a repeatable and scalable business model.

UI/UX: User Interface or User Experience. Anything referring to the usability or design of your solution or product. Contrary to work in corporate, start-up solutions and product MUST be very user friendly and intuitive to understand so lots of attention is paid to the aesthetics of the end product. Unicorn: A private non-listed company with a valuation exceeding USD 1 Bln. Waterfall: In software development, it tends to be among the less iterative and flexible approaches, as progress flows in largely one direction (“downwards” like a waterfall) through the phases of conception, initiation, analysis, design, construction, testing, deployment and maintenance.


Reference: afce.co

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