An academically rigorous, actionable roadmap for innovation and business success in 24 steps.
“It’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy,” Steve Jobs once famously said.
In fact, the main characteristics associated with an entrepreneur are that of a charismatic and larger- than-life lone hero with a certain degree of showmanship—if not even craziness—and propensity for risk-taking.
Yes, entrepreneurs need the can-do spirit of a pirate that makes them believe they can be successful. But to succeed they also need the precision and follow-through skills of a Navy Seal. And these can be taught.
Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, developed a comprehensive 24-step framework which is taught at MIT and used by MIT ventures and spinoffs with high success. The total annual revenue from MIT alumni-founded companies taken together would make them the 11th largest economy in the world (E. Roberts and C. Eesley, Entrepreneurial Impact: The Role of MIT—An Updated Report, 2011).
An academically rigorous yet actionable roadmap in 24 steps
What sets the MIT framework apart from other approaches like the Lean Startup, Customer Development, Business Model Canvas, or Growth Hacking among others is that it combines them with an academically rigorous yet actionable roadmap.
Start at step #1 and while there are many iterative loops along the way, you have enough sequential structure to not get lost.
Invention * Commercialization = Innovation
You’ve probably noticed that the framework is geared towards testing business and market hypotheses and little is dedicated to a product’s underlying invention. Innovation as defined by MIT and commonly understood in Silicon Valley is the product of invention (an idea, technology, intellectual property, etc.) and commercialization.
The invention is important but without widespread adoption it is deemed irrelevant. In fact, well known entrepreneur and investor Vinod Khosla recently shared at a VLAB—MIT Enterprise Forum of the Bay Area event that only a fraction (about 1/10th) of the startups in Silicon Valley fail because of the technology. Most startups fail because of a lack of product/market fit. If you have a closer look at the latest innovations you’ll see that at their core they are business model innovations enabled by technology (Google, iTunes, Netfix, Salesforce, Zipcar to just name a few).
For startups and corporations alike
This framework is useful for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (persons within a large corporation who take direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product) alike. Although anecdotal by nature, my own experience when coaching startups and advising corporations is that it can be instrumental for reducing risk and ensuring success—or if failure was inevitable, moving faster to a better idea.