Category Archives: Lean in the North East

Join us 17/11 for Lean Startup Week 2017 (non) Livestream

Drop in at Campus North on 17th November from 1pm – 6pm


As you know, The Lean Startup framework is an established method for max’ing startup success, and – now – for sorting breakthrough innovation in established organisations / corporates.

The Blurb

Lean Startup Week brings the big ideas from Eric Ries’ books off the page to show how organizations are making them real around the world. At Campus North, we’re fortunate to get the livestream from the two main days, but on UK time!

Join us for a hand-picked afternoon of talks direct from San Francisco. Bring your laptop, keep working, and lend an ear for the latest insights from industry practitioners, advocates from the public and third sectors – along with thought leaders, and the leader of our movement, Eric Ries.

Compered by Justin Souter, drop in to Campus North and hang out with other Lean Startup / Lean Innovation enthusiasts and help Justin get over the fact he’s not volunteering back at SF this year! Whether you’re a player, a newbie, or simply intrigued, you’ll be welcome to the beanbags and good company.

Run your own experiment and find out how the Lean Startup approach, Business Model Canvas, Customer Development, and related disciplines can raise your productivity, bring new product and services to market, and build a sustainable business with less risk.

The Sign-Up

Please give us an indication of interest (our own experiment) by signing up using Eventbrite. Thank you!

Tweet us at @campusnorthuk or @souterconsults with any questions.

Looking forward to meeting on the day – stay as long as you like!


December 2016 event feedback


At our December 2016 reboot event, participants were good enough to give their feedback.

I have transcribed the Post-It notes from the three canvases which were on the Campus North classroom walls.

The text in italics in my / our responses; some things seemed relevant (aka our domain), other stuff not so much… – Justin


Reboot - December 2016//

Value Prop Canvas

Stuff in our domain

  1. Send to the Attendants (attendees) a list of the other’s contact details
    1. Ok, would everyone be happy about this
  2. Expand the event into a Lean Startup weekend. The Speakers are good and the content, very interesting
    1. It’s happened half-a-dozen times in our Region, usually organised by Universities – e.g. Northumbria, Teesside (that I know of re Lean Startup); others seems to have different formats
  3. Create online feedback forms, to learn more from the audience & formulate the right questions
    1. Work in progress
  4. Create Lean Startup workshops
    1. I’ve been delivering these for more than 3 years now
    2. Cf Generator’s Digital Futures have funded – sign up now for February 2017 
  5. Very interesting event, well worth the time.
    1. Feedback: the Eventbrite page did not reflect the content too well.
    2. I came along because I know Justin and his is good, perhaps details the speakers and content with detail?
    3. Ok, will take on board – we wanted to keep things simple

Stuff outside our domain

  1. Selecting / managing Agile contractors

Product Roadmap

  1. Help build up contacts
    1. We have a mailing list – please sign up, and connect us with interested parties
  2. Make case by case basis support
    1. Unfortunately, I don’t really know how to respond to this
  3. Good work – keep it going!
    1. Thank you!

BMC (left to right, top to bottom – cf photo)

Stuff in our domain

  1. Real case studies with guest speaker
    1. Startup
    2. Scale up
    3. Corporate
    4. Charity
    5. Govt.
    6. [Yes, working on it – suggestions v welcome]
  2. Video (short) each session from Steve Blank or Eric Ries
    1. How about a Saturday morning which features the key talks from Lean Startup Week 2016 – with a couple of discussions?
  3. Create a Lean Forum of Peers in North East – share and collaborate
    1. Great, very good idea
    2. What would be the objective?
    3. Need to tackle challenges, or else won’t get traction
    4. Perhaps coordinate with Design Thinkers locally?
    5. LNE can ‘hold the space’; someone would need to organise – volunteers anyone?
  4. North East? North England? UK? How far can you go?
    1. Other orgs
      1. Lean Startup Yorkshire
      2. Lean Startup Summit London
      3. Leanconf – has been in Manchester, expected to be in The Netherlands
      4. I’ve volunteered twice at the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco…
      5. Lean Startup Circle
  5. Reach out to key NE Businesses
    1. In progress – but needs to match their business challenges / pressing needs
    2. I.e. needs to be ‘pull’ from them, as well as ‘push’ from us…
  6. Idea for next quarterly sessions
    1. Someone who has used Lean Startup model through search to execute (“proper case study”)
  7. Great blend of Lean Startup and examples
    1. Thank you!
  8. Next Lean Startup workshops – ‘mashups’
    1. Mmm, not sure sure what this means
  9. How do VCs react to this approach?
    1. Some get it, other don’t
    2. “Justin, we work those who get it, those who don’t – we leave them where they are” – as told to Justin at Lean Startup conf in 2015
    3. Bill Morrow –
  10. How can this group link into other geographies
    1. Northern Powerhouse
    2. London
    3. See above re other orgs
    4. Also – Lean Startup Circle
  11. How do you engage with Corporates?
    1. Public sector
    2. Charity
    3. See #3 above – need to solve challenges, key is to use business language
      1. Product & Service development
      2. Breakthrough innovation
      3. ‘Disrupt yourselves’
  12. Stories – where it didn’t go well and why
    1. Agree, this would be in case study talks
  13. Success stories
    1. As per other case study talks
    2. Alternatively, there are plenty of videos, podcasts, articles etc. out there
      1. Lean Startup Conf videos
      2. Moves the Needle podcast
      3. Leanconf videos
  14. What tools help formally to identify the value proposition?
    1. Value Prop Canvas – cf Stratgyzer
  15. When do you call it a day?
    1. Have regular Pivot or Persevere meetings
    2. Your early adopters (or lack thereof) will guide you
    3. When you run out of cash…
  16. WRT (with regards to costs)
    1. How do you avoid costly mistakes in defining the revenue streams?
    2. Go out and talk with your early adopters as much as possible
    3. Go out and test, and pivot your revenue streams as feedback direct
  17. What is the role of continuous integration / feature backlog in shipping versions?
    1. Mmm, don’t know – ask the people at DevOps NE, Agile NE
  18. Best way to get website feedback?
    1. Ask people
    2. What Users Do service
    3. Put chat on your site
    4. Put pop up on your site asking for feedback
    5. Crazy Egg – heatmaps
    6. A/B test
  19. Google forms and prize draw [<unreadable word>]
    1. Umm, don’t know how to respond / what this means
  20. Analytics (do’s)
    1. Cf MeasureCamp
  21. Is “the web” sufficient to consider as the sole channel?
    1. No
    2. ‘Discuss’…
  22. Take wider remit to business innovation
    1. Agreed, although need traction via solving business problems
    2. Anyone willing to have a word with the LEPs, business support organisations?
  23. How do you reach out to your important customers???
    1. Pick up the phone
    2. LinkedIn
    3. Ask them when you next meet them
    4. If they’re not interested, find people who are
  24. Question
    1. Which features *In* the MVP
    2. Which features *Out*
    3. How do you know?
    4. Ask your early adopters
    5. Ask them for a PO to develop features

Stuff outside our domain

1. Liked JR’s cards and have been keen to buy a set for > 2 years

  1. Would like to learn about Lean Manufacturing
    1. Go on courses
    2. Work for Nissan
    3. Read books – e.g. The Gold Mine, The Machine That Changed the World

Lean North East [gradual] re-boot – please stay tuned!


Keep Calm and rebootFounded and led rather brilliantly by Emma Robinson, Lean North East had a burst of activity a while back. Perhaps no Lean Startup Machine touch-down, but startup weekends featuring our friends from Evolv / Startup Foundation (and many others) have become normal in our Region.

Things went quiet for a while (ok, a couple of years): us Organisers all have been doing day jobs – in my case, bootstrapping Dynamo North East, a social enterprise.

Much has happened

Lean Startup is still very much current – many books have been published; several conferences attended (San Francisco, Manchester, Canary Wharf, Edinburgh); there is greater use of Lean Startup in established organisations.

Lean Innovation

‘Lean Innovation’ is one term used to describing applying Lean Startup in corporate environments. Eric has written a book outlining his experiences, raising $588k on Kickstarter in the process[!]. Although I’ve got a copy I think there will be only one print run.

This seems to be a growth area for the ‘Lean Startup movement’: aka a straightforward innovation process. I’m planning a series of posts on this topic over the Summer #fingerscrossed

Steve Blank coming to the Netherlands?

I think Steve is a legend. My friend and associate, Otto Freijser is working to attract him to Europe for a masterclass:

Prepare for a Full-day Keynote with Steve Blank & many others! Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley serial-entrepreneur and professor is recognized for developing the Customer Development methodology, the foundation for the Lean Startup movement. We want to connect all who are interested in executing the Lean Start-up methodology. We welcome everyone from corporate to start-up to join this event. So join us and let’s get Steve here! Learn from this expert, but also connect and learn from each other. Take the Lean movement to a next level!

At the time of writing, there are 38 ‘golden’ tickets left for 18th November – you can join me in Amsterdam here!

Founders Network

Interestingly, this popped into my mailbox this morning from Tech North.

The schedule includes events in Newcastle, Sunderland, and Teesside / Middlesbrough. I’ve signed up for more info!

I also attended the recent Tech North roadshow event in Gateshead this week, and I like the solid plans that the Tech North team – led by Richard Gregory – have lined up.

My ‘School of Tech’ workshop – learn about Lean Startup

You may be interested in my two day introduction workshop to Lean Startup: it’s an open-to-book-on course at Campus North – click on this link to get to the booking page. Enter ‘summerschool’ at the checkout for 10% discount!

About School of Tech

School of Tech is a subsidiary of Sharpe Recruitment. As recruitment professionals specialising in the creative and digital industries in the North East of England we noticed a demand for a long list of tech and creative skills where the only option for working professionals to get them on their CVs was to go online.

School of Tech wants to take you back to school and fill your noggin with the most up-to-date and in-demand programming languages and creative practices. Everything from Python and Ruby on Rails to Javascript and UX.

We want to put you or your staff in front of an expert, in a classroom just like the old days. We’ve hired some of the best tech and creative gurus in the country to come and spill their beans all over Campus North in Newcastle Upon Tyne. So, grab your satchel, your pencil case and don’t be late.

Future plans

A key goal is – as ever – to spread the benefits of the Lean Startup framework to a wider audience.

Hopefully to keep tabs of the various strands of the movement, which – whilst getting richer in depth – need a bit of thought about how to implement and make the most of…

There are more folk applying the insights here, so perhaps running an event once a quarter would be something to aim for, e.g. featuring local speakers re Lean Innovation and thereby connecting business folk interested in this domain. Maybe also looking more closely at developments relating to the business model canvas etc.

How you can get involved

Our steering committee is planning to meet in August to plot our next steps. We’re grateful for any support and / or assistance!

It would be great if could please fill out this form or tweet us if you’d like to be involved, and stay tuned / recommend LNE to your Friends.

You could also send an e-mail to us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as I / we can. Thank you!

Join our Tweet Chat on MVP vs MDP

An integral part of the Lean Startup methodology is developing an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). But is viable enough? Should we be aiming for desirability over viability? Join us next Tuesday (18th) 8-9pm for the first of a new series of Tweet Chats hosted by Lean North East where we’ll be discussing MVP vs MDP.

What is a TweetChat?

A tweetchat is a pre-arranged discussion on twitter using an agreed hashtag (in this case #leanchatne)

How do I join in?

You can simply follow the #leanchatne hashtag on Tuesday 18th at 8pm using your twitter client of choice, but don’t forget to add the #leanchatne hashtag to any discussions you take part in.

The easiest way to participate is to use a tweetchat app such as where you can login using your twitter account and set the hashtag you wish to join. Tweetchat will filter all hashtagged tweets and automatically add the hashtag to any tweets you post using the app. Simples!

How often will tweetchats take place?

We’re starting by running a tweetchat once a month, every third tuesday of the month.

Feel free to tweet us if you have any other questions or suggestions for topics for future chats.

Lean Sales & Marketing – slides and photos


Hey folks – thank you to everyone who attended last week’s “Lean Sales and Marketing” event.

It was a great turnout – and you can still give us feedback via Survey Monkey.

Thank you to our Speakers

A huge thank you to Ellie Mirman, Richard Lane, and Saul Gowens for their talks.


Ellie Mirman

Justin’s interview was Ellie was based on her post Lean Marketing: How to Run Your Marketing Team Like a Startup.

Please see below her slides which relate to her interview.

Richard Lane

Saul Gowens


#LeanNorthEast twitterstream

Click here to find our latest tweets [Twitter widget didn’t work so well… ;-)]

Wash Up & join our Newsletter mailing list

So, a really enjoyable event, and a big thank you to sponsors NCFE for laying on the pizza #nomnom.

Last thing then is an invitation to stay informed about Lean North East by signing up to our newsletter:

Please subscribe to our mailing list

Thank you!

Global Entrepreneurship Week at Teesside University

Cross-posted from

This month, we settled into our home at Boho 4, which means we have made the final transition from the accelerator part of the programme into our incubator here at Searchcamp.

Now that Searchcamp 1 has drawn to a close, we have been gearing ourselves up for what’s ahead, including organising some awesome events for Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 with our founding partners, Teesside University.

“GEW” takes place from the 18th – 24th November, and Searchcamp are planning a packed week of events for founders, entrepreneurs, academics and students.

Bobby Paterson, Programme Director of Searchcamp explains: “Our relationship with Teesside University has gone from strength to strength. They are clearly very committed to developing entrepreneurship at the university in a variety of different ways.

“Whether it be on the tech side or the business side, entrepreneurship and being a startup founder is a real career opportunity, and the university is so committed to this. As a result of that, the university have come to us about Global Entrepreneurship Week, which was perfect for Searchcamp because we want to engage all the stakeholders and partners in every level that we can to build that startup ecosystem on Teesside.”

Evolv Logo

Searchcamp are organising a weekend event, just before GEW begins, on 15th-17th November, alongside Leon Pals from the Startup Foundation and the guys from Founder Centric to bring everyone Evolv Weekend Middlesbrough.

Bobby explains: “Everything comes back to our Founder Education Programme and this is at the heart of that weekend. For us, it’s always about bringing in the best people to work with.”

This event is around building an idea, no matter how early-stage it is, and to learn and apply the Lean Startup methodologies and processes, with a particular focus on identifying the customer and their problem or need.

Register for Evolv Weekend Middlesbrough by clicking here.

Evolv Weekend from Evolv on Vimeo.

At the beginning of GEW on Monday 18th, Searchcamp are organising Leancamp with Founder Sal Virani, the first of its kind in the North East.

“I’m really excited about that.” explains Bobby, “Sal is a super guy. If we’re really committed to building a startup ecosystem here on Teesside then these are the kind of people and organisations that we’ve got to get into the University.”


As the Global Entrepreneurship Week continues, Searchcamp are hosting a Lean Startup workshop for academic members of staff, on Tuesday 19th, which introduces them to the foundations of Lean Startup and different methodologies, including the Business Model Canvas and Customer Development. The focus is very much on a User centric and Customer centric approach to product development.

Of course, Searchcamp are also putting on a Lean Entrepreneurs Day on Wednesday 20th for the students from the university through DigitalCity Innovation, Entrepreneurs At Tees, and the Teesside Entrepreneurs Society, who also have given Searchcamp some wonderful support since the start.


“For the student body, these opportunities are just incredible, and we’re so excited about putting them on their doorstep.”

Searchcamp are running the week with Lean and learning as the absolute focus. Bobby explains: “There are good learnings to be taken from Eric Reis’ book, but there almost needs to be a real education programme around what Lean Startup is.”

Insisting that Lean is here to stay, Bobby said: “In many cases, if you’re not looking to operate in a Lean way and eliminate waste, and building something that you haven’t validated, then why are you building it?

“It has never been easier to set up and build an internet based company than it is today.”

He added, “However, the success rates haven’t changed, and for me that’s really down to nobody really teaching this stuff and actually being clear about how to structure an experiment to either validate or invalidate a hypothesis. There’s a lot of learnings to be had.”

During Searchcamp 1, there were many great coaches and mentors who shared with Bobby and the teams, their experiences, and things that they would have done differently, which ties into Bobby’s Lean vision.

Startup Foundation Logo

“Lean startup is about an attitude, a culture, and it’s about founders and entrepreneurs thinking and operating in a lean and agile way and approaching things very differently.”

Tickets for Evolv Weekend Middlesbrough are available here. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email –

Websand’s 4c’s of Lean Marketing

Cross-posted from

Saul Gowens writes:

“I launched this idea as part of a talk at a Lean North East on Monday night.

This also included historic footage of Lisa Simpson creating the Lean Start Up – but that is for another post.

The idea for the 4C’s is to suggest a framework to apply for the creation of marketing processes with any business.

The rationale around that in my experience few smaller businesses create a marketing process. The 4cs also helps move a mindset away from Lean methodologies simply being applied to software, after all it emerged from a smash up between Japanese processes commonly applied in manufacturing.

So the four C’s…


Targeting the audience of your marketing message, and the behaviour change you want to influence (aka your marketing objective).

This sets your hypothesis


I recall Doug Richards referring to “marketing as code” in one of his marketing themed school for start ups.

So which code relates to your target audience. This can be existing data, webpages or social media. Anything that needs help from a techie fits here.


Here is your core brief. What elements with your control are you going to change.

Here at Websand HQ we believe that time is a key factor in finding the sweet spot on marketing messages.

The emotion involved in buying decisions make timing really important.

This can also be the basis for your A/B test so remember to test one change at a time wherever possible.


A lot of Lean methodology is considered to be common sense.

If it ain’t broken don’t try and fix it.

This is your measurement and consideration step.

If the results work, then look to apply the process consistently if that is relevant.

If not then make sure you document your learning for future reference, then (if relevant) pivot within the earlier process and repeat.

We are big believers in this stuff and at Websand we are helping ecommerce businesses to create, measure and learn the results from marketing processes for their businesses.

Hope this makes sense to you and is useful. Any questions or feedback please get in touch.

Saul (@websand)”

Saul’s Slides