Lean canvas is a relatively new concept in outlining the startup project or any business model on the initial stage. Essentially, the lean canvas is the extension of the more established business model canvas but feature several critical improvements. First, according to the author of the concept, Ash Maurya, the traditional business model canvas do not account for several factors that are crucial for conceiving a startup (Maruya, 2012a).
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These can be summed up in two words: risk assessment. For examples, key activities and key resources, while being the essential components in the traditional approach, do not constitute risk mitigation enough to be prioritized on the initial stage. Besides, the key activities, according to Maurya (2012a), should only be determined after the initial minimum viable product has passed the most basic tests and can be validated.
The same can be said about customer relationships, which can be tested on a smaller scale on the initial stage and then identified later. Basically, the lean canvas aims at increasing the efficiency of the starting phase by minimizing the resources and effort required. The author has stated in his blog, that the main reason for the startups to fail is the lack of proper understanding of the intended product, and the subsequent heading in the wrong direction (Maurya, 2012b).
Thus, his version of canvas deals with the problems and solutions. The key metrics eliminate the possibility of directing the optimization process in the wrong direction, and the unfair advantage, the final deviation from the standard, secures the possibility to deal with competitors.
The disciplined entrepreneurship framework, suggested by Bill Aulet, offers a similar approach, but with several differences. Instead of building the business model conceiving the canvas, the framework introduces a step-by-step approach, which covers every aspect of the business planning. The steps are broken down into six categories, which deal with the customer base, the production cycle, the market demand, and the progression after the initial stage is completed.
Some of the steps, like the one dealing with building user profile, can be paralleled by the traditional business model canvas, while others, like “identifying the core”, are usually omitted by the standard procedures. The first and foremost advantage of the 24-step approach is its systematic and structured nature, which allows for effective management for inexperienced SME startups and offers a comprehensive guide that is easy to follow. It also allows for the gradual mastery, as the structure does not require the linear approach and encourages to revisit the steps as the entrepreneurs become familiar with certain aspects of business.
The two approaches are difficult to compare, as they are structured differently: the lean canvas is a planning tool for the startup business while the disciplined entrepreneurship framework is more of a set of instructions. Nevertheless, they intersect at certain points. First, both approaches offer an alternative to the standard business model planning, which was conceived and perfected for the medium to large enterprises.
Even the augmentations that take SME into account often miss the mark, as the recent phenomenon of startup operates on a different scale and uses different principles. Thus, both approaches emphasize the innovation (core in the Aulet’s book and Unfair Advantage in Maurya’s) as central to planning. However, they differ in conceiving the initial stage. While lean canvas rejects some well-established steps, like key resources and customer relationships, the disciplined entrepreneurship framework embraces them, placing them in the middle of the process, which can be viewed as the point that falls outside the canvas because of its secondary nature.
Finally, Aulet specifically emphasizes the fact that determining the “problem” should not be viewed as the inevitable step and that it can be postponed for the next stage (Aulet, 2013), which contradicts the Maurya’s concept, but goes in line with the non-linearity of the 24-step program. As a result, despite the obvious deviations, the two approaches can and should be used together without contradicting each other. The former can be viewed as a suggestion for creating a roadmap for a risk-proof startup while the second can be applied as an instruction set that can be checked whenever the entrepreneurs find that some of the aspects of the business plan are missing.
The camel races are an old tradition in Qatar. The part of the tradition is the use of under-age children as jockeys because their light weight gave the camel an advantage. For the same reason, children were often malnourished to further reduce the weight. This was deemed the violation of children’s rights, so the Swiss company K-team has attempted to address the issue. They’ve done it by introducing the robot jockeys, and thus preserving the tradition while at the same time improving the social status of Sudanese children that are forced to work as young as four years.
However, on the prototype stage, several issues have been discovered with the product. First, it turned out that the design was unusual enough to stress the animals. This was a difficult one to fix, as the religion forbids the human-like depictions on inanimate objects (Lewis, 2005). By circumventing this difficulty, K-team was able to sell the first supply of robots to Qatar. Thus, it was not until both technical and cultural issues were taken care of that this product was able to enter the market.
And even then, the clients were reluctant to buy the robots because they were not effective enough while having a high price. Only later in development, when the company was able to produce a far more lightweight robot and cut down its price at the same time, the robot jockeys became firmly established on the market (Crivellin, 2014).
However, while the human rights are already secured in this area with the introduction of the high-tech devices, the animal rights activists continue to express their concern with the possibly cruel treatment of animals during the races. This issue can also be addressed at least in part by using the Tijwal B System, a device that provides telemetry functions for training the camels (Tijwal B System, n.d.). The Tijwal B System offers all the essential information about the animal: its location, speed, and travelled distance.
This allows to optimize the training process and avoid unnecessary stress for the animal. Additionally, the digital nature of the metrics makes it possible to log store information for later use, as well as run an analysis that makes it easier to detect anomalies and implement changes if such need arises. Finally, pairing the device with map recognition functionality allows triggering the notifications in case the camels enter the restricted areas, or simply leave the training zone. Thus, the Tijwal B System not only allows to eliminate unnecessary stress for the animals but also raises the efficiency of the training process and helps to manage the owner’s time.
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Aulet, B. (2013). Disciplined entrepreneurship: 24 steps to a successful startup. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Crivellin, G. (2014). New generation jockey. Web.
Lewis, J. (2005). Robots of Arabia. Web.
Maurya, A. (2012a). Running lean: iterate from plan a to a plan that works. Cambridge: O’Reilly Media, Inc.
Maurya, A. (2012b). Why lean canvas vs business model canvas? Web.
Tijwal B system for camel training. (n.d.). Web.