The Lean Start-Up Door to Commonsense in the Other Culture

How is Lean Startup process like engaging in an Other culture?

If you know “Lean Startup,” that sense of process should open the door to Other-culture commonsense. This blog entry is aimed at helping you have commonsense in an Other culture.

[I am thinking of THIS COMPARISON (in this blog) as a MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT: Where I am in error, and you see a better way, send me a note, so I can write an improved blog.]

Lean Startup Process (LSP) < > Other-Culture Engagement (OCE)
What can we learn from Lean Startup Process that can transfer
to produce Other-Culture Engagement?

LSP PROPOSES > “looking for a business model” not executing one
OCE discovers Other-culture commonsense, you do not assume you can operate within the Other culture based on your mind’s map of the Other culture.

LSP PROPOSES > forming a value hypothesis
OCE says you bring with you a set of values and also preconceptions.

LSP PROPOSES > experimentation over elaborate planning
OCE values and grows by repeated real life cultural encounters not thought encounters (books, internet, hearsay) about cultural ways.

OCE accepts that participants with their own cultural baggage, do and can engage Other-culture actors, scenes, and activities, at entry level capability– while applying learned skills and evolving towards full engagement.

OCE requires data derived from observation and participation. It requires keeping records of recurring patterns in meetings, conversations, and everyday exchanges – while *identifying new hypotheses and key questions.

LSP VALUES > customer feedback over intuition
OCE emphasizes 1) non-judgmental observations, *drawing limited/”doubtable” conclusions from de-culturated data; and 2) feedback from proven sources, informants, providing insider points of view.

OCE asks repeatedly and often, ‘What makes sense to them?’

LSP PROPOSES > “PIVOT” to vary design
OCE adapts behaviors and adjusts attitudes in order to communicate in Other-culture ways, patterns that make sense to them

OCE requires constant data collection, testing of temporary conclusions, revising assumptions about the Other culture, and re-engaging Other-cultures insiders in ways that, as you the outsider understand more and more, make sense to them.

Steve Blank has said of Lean Startup, Using customers’ input to revise their assumptions, they start the cycle over again, testing redesigned offerings and making further small adjustments (iterations) or more substantive ones (pivots) to ideas that aren’t working.^

A very, very similar cycle of effort is required in Other Culture Engagement.

^direct/indirect references to Steve Blank’s Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything in Harvard Business Review, May 2013


About rbuddglobal

Towards Business As Mission becoming skilled culturally. Alongside West African colleagues who train workers to go cross-culturally. Learning, teaching, communicating, and being with others to make disciples for Jesus who welcomes all.
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