In the past few years, a new methodology for launching companies, called “the lean start-up,” has begun to replace the old regimen. Traditionally, a venture’s founders would write a business plan, complete with a five-year forecast, use it to raise money, and then go into “stealth mode” to develop their offerings, all without getting much feedback from the people they intended to sell to. Lean start-ups, in contrast, begin by searching for a business model. They test, revise, and discard hypotheses, continually gathering customer feedback and rapidly iterating on and reengineering their products. This strategy greatly reduces the chances that start-ups and corporations will spend a lot of time and money launching products that no one actually will pay for.
Customer feedback is an essential component of business strategy development. This classic HBR articles highlights the risk that firms face due to over-reliance on their best customers to inform their strategy.
The rapid growth in the amount of data being collected is leading to an increased need to manage and analyze these large data sets. A new breed of problem solvers, The Data Scientist, is emerging to lead the effort to tackle these complex problems and associated opportunities. The HBR article below explores this emerging role in detail and provides some real world examples of the problems that are being tackled.