Entrepreneurial workshop Lean Startup Machine gets physical with its new ‘Validation Board’

validation board

Every startup thinks it’s the next Instagram, the next Facebook. Something that entrepreneurs don’t  understand, as Lean Startup Machine CEO and founder Trevor Owens explais to Digital Trends, is that the majority of companies do not become instant hits on the first attempt. Instead, most successful companies begin as one thing and become another – they pivot, one, two, three times ; as many times as it takes . YouTube first began as a dating site., and Instagram was a mobile social network.

“The empirical truth is that most successful start-ups changed their plan after the initial idea pretty significantly,” Owens said.

This is where the Lean Startup methodology comes into play. Lean Startup Machine is a series of international workshops for entrepreneurs run by a team of leaders that hop from city to city and country to country as evangelists of author Eric Ries’ Lean Startup method. Ries is the author of The Lean Startup, and the company that sings its praises, the Lean Startup Machine, was founded by Owens. Branch is one alumnus of the Lean Startup Machine that’s making  a name for itself  in the start-up world.

“The fundamental thing about Lean Startup is providing a framework for beginning to look at entrepreneurship as a science,” Owens says.

Today Lean Startup Machine is launching its Validation Board, a physical (or digital) tool to help entrepreneurs realize their goals in a tangible way. Owens found that while people were learning the Lean Startup method, they weren’t necessarily “taking action.” To solve this problem, the  team has created a stupid-simple, map-like chart that diagrams and creates a flow for startups to follow.  This isn’t the first time easy tools and visual learning have been applied to the business world: The Validation Board is comparable to the method that Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur have been teaching the creation of business models through their book, “Business Model Generation” – a book commonly used in entrepreneurship studies.

The Validation Board isn’t necessarily restricted to just students that have taken classes from the Lean Startup Machine. Owens told us that it’s available to any startup that’s “open to change.” So if you’re a follower of this methodology or even interested in learning the principals, the Validation Board’s site offers to plenty of free information — for example, how Owens saved $10,000 in six months using the principles you follow on the chart. The Validation Board itself comes in a printable format, but it’s also compatible digitally with Google Docs as a spreadsheet, or as a Powerpoint template.

All the enthusiasm and innovation in the world doesn’t change the fact that most startups fail. So if a chart that helps you get from point A to point B can offer even the slightest advantage, it’s in your interest to take it.

You can check out a preview of how the board works in the video below.