Category Archives: Lean Learning

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!


Join us at our event on 6th Dec at Campus North

… and we’re Back!

Join us for an exciting evening with the (re)launch of Lean North East, on 6th December at 5.30 pm (for 6) at Campus North.

Lean Startup for Business Innovation

The focus of the evening is ‘Why are we Using Lean Startup for Business Innovation’?

The evening consists of early drinks and networking, a number of speakers doing short talks, and then an interactive session to get you engaged and talking to each other.

The aim of the evening is to spearhead business innovation activities in the North East, with a focus on early stage startups and corporate sector growth.  Keep Calm and RebootDeveloped and created for our local community in the North East to inspire new ideas and practically discuss tools and models to use within a dynamic, fast growing environment, involving a blistering pace of change. Learn, grow and develop new insights into the latest business innovation techniques. This will be part of a series of events across the year, so join us to be part of it. Go ahead and sign up now, and please feel free to share as widely as you like using the buttons below.

Speakers to look forward to

Where we’ve got to…

Dr. Janette Young of NUBS will recap the Lean Startup message, explore the emerging ‘Lean Innovation’ theme, and introduce a student report from Stanford University.

Applying Lean Startup principles in a global engineering business

Tom Willshare leads R&D for the local division of an industrial services company. He will tell us how Lean Startup methods are being used to measure the performance of their latest equipment, the role of innovation as competitive advantage, and the potential move to closer customer relationships by pivoting to more of a service model.

Kick Cards – James Rutherford

Startup Kick CardsThe Startup Kick Card Deck is a tool for startups and agile teams. They help you innovate. They help you identify business strengths and weaknesses. They can be used for team idea sessions, to sharpen your thinking as an individual or as a facilitation and mentoring tool. James will be giving a brief demonstration, and asking for feedback.

The State of Lean Startup 2016

Catch up with Eric Ries’ Opening Remarks at Lean Startup Week, SF Nov 2, 2016 – which are his thoughts about where next [up to 9mins]

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

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 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.

Sponsor us | Max our reach

Please get in touch via the contact form or Twitter if you’d like to promote yourselves by supporting our voluntary group.

Thank you!

Our next Event – The Legend of the MVP

The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) has taken on almost mythical status in recent times but just what is an MVP, when should you use an MVP and what are the benefits?

Join us at our next event on Monday 10th March when we’ll be discussing MVPs in more detail, hearing from both local and international entrepreneurs on the what, when, where and how of their MVP experiences.

Thanks to our generous friends at NCFE we’re holding the event at NCFE’s snazzy new offices at Quorum Business Park and there will be tasty pizzas and lots of opportunity to meet and chat.


Tristan Kromer

Tristan KromerTristan Kromer pokes, prods, and questions startups. He’s spent 10 years in the music industry, worked 5 years in IT security, lived in 5 different countries, studied philosophy and business (separately), and generally made a nuisance of himself for the past 5 years in Silicon Valley as a lean startup advocate.

Tristan runs and helps implement lean startup principles at innovation centers and companies with anywhere from $0 to $5 billion in revenue. He blogs at @TriKro

Glenn Morrill, Director at MyMoneyPA

Glenn MorrillSimplifying personal financial management isn’t easy but that’s just what MyMoneyPA is aiming to do and they’ve been on quite a journey so far.

After pivoting they created the MyMoneyPA mobile app that helps you keep track of where your money goes.

Glenn will talk about how the company, working with RyanFosterDesign, prototyped, coded, tested and improved an MVP of the mobile app over an intense 2 week iteration. @mymoneypa

Tony Short, Founder at StudioAlt

Tony ShortStudioAlt was founded in late 2013, with the objective of being the UK site of choice for Digital, Tech and Startups to purchase physical toolkits that will both empower and aid collaboration.

Tony will talk about starting a new venture in your spare time and how the use of an MVP, testing and setting success criteria can help you manage the risks involved in getting a new venture off the ground. @thetonyshort

Ryan Hoover

Ryan HooverBased in San Francisco, Ryan is the Co-Creator of Product Hunt, Creator of Startup Edition, an EIR at Tradecraft, and former Director of Product at PlayHaven.

Ryan has written over 150 essays on startups, entrepreneurship and lean methodology, many of which have been featured in TechCrunch, Forbes, PandoDaily, Fast Company, The Next Web.

In November 2013 Ryan wrote an article for Fast Company called ‘The Wisdom of the 20 Minute Startup’ ( describing the initial MVP he created in just 20 minutes for Product Hunt.

Ryan will join us to discuss the thinking and process behind the 20 Minute MVP, the results and what happened next with Product Hunt. @rrhoover

Book your tickets now

If the widget above doesn’t work for you, please head over to Eventbrite and grab yourself a ticket asap.

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

Interview with with Carl Jones, MD at Technically Compatible

Lean Startup 101: Interview with Carl Jones, Managing Director at Sunderland startup Technically Compatible.

After the recent Lean Startup 101 course we caught up with Carl Jones, Managing Director at Technically Compatible, to chat about his interest in Lean Startup and how his company is applying Lean methods to product and business development.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company, Technically Compatible?

TC LogoNo problem, Technically Compatible is a start-up offshoot of The Test Factory Group. The Test Factory provides high profile customised assessment solutions to mainly bluechip clients and has a presence globally.

Technically Compatible is a SaaS product that makes it really easy to build a customised test for any given IT role as part of the recruitment process. The idea came from our own headaches experienced when recruiting our own developers, where we wasted a lot of time interviewing candidates who on paper looked great, but in practice didn’t have the skills we needed. Existing solutions on the market were all pretty clunky and expensive, so we thought we’d disrupt the market with our own product that made skills assessment cost effective and easy.

I come from a sales background and have worked with the TTF group in a few roles before being asked to head up Technically Compatible. Whilst I have responsibility for the strategic side of the business, I still like to get my hands dirty with sales and the odd coffee run!

Outside of work I’m a Durham University MBA Candidate, enjoying playing Sunday League football for a local side and spend my winters skiing in beautiful Colorado!

2. How did you first hear about Lean Startup and what got you interested?

I actually first heard of Lean Startup from our Group CEO who was adamant that I should read Eric Reis’ book when I took the reins here. As with most of his advice, I took it with a pinch of salt (Sorry Kev!), but saw the book when sitting around in an airport somewhere in the US and thought I’d pick it up. I was hooked from the offset and the main reason was that I could see a whole plethora of ways we could implement the methodology into TC straight away.

3. Technically Compatible brought a team of four along to the recent Lean Startup in a Day course – what did you learn?

Picture 012Out of the 4 of us I was the only one that had any real knowledge of the Lean movement, and I was also the only non-techie. I was keen for my Head of Technology to come along as it is he and I who are most involved in the product development side of things. So I think the majority of learning was for him and the others in terms of the Lean way of developing ideas, building proveable hypothesis and rolling forward from there.

For me, the main thing I took away from the Lean North East event was the importance of forcing yourself into an alternate way of thinking. When we were asked to consider a radical business model which had to involve giving away our product for free, as opposed to anything else that we’d considered, it really engaged your inner innovator and proved a cool way of looking outside of the box.

4. How do you see the company implementing what you learned in your day to day business?

Like most startups, TC has had its fair share of challeneges. Not least of those has been in identifying our best route to market and understanding what direction we should take our product development. When considering a new way of doing things, or building a new feature, we now implement Lean methods to ensure the work is worthwhile.

We’re also making use of the Validation Board when looking at where best to point our resource rifle.

5. What business benefits do you hope to achieve by implementing Lean Startup methods?

The main benefit that we’re hopeful of achieving is quite simple; to find the most efficient way of growing our business. We know there is a big market, and we know what our competitors are doing, but in an effort to compete we could quite easily burn through a lot of cash heading in the wrong direction if we’re not careful.

6. If other North East entrepreneurs and company directors are considering finding out more about Lean Startup, what would you say to them?

Well for a start I’d encourage anyone with an interest to drop me a line or connect on LinkedIn, I’m always happy to talk through and learn wherever I can as well.

Other than that I can highly recommend getting involved with the local Lean communities which are all over the world now. Lean North East is ours and I think it’s well worth going along to their events throughout the year.

Oh, and buy The Lean Startup!

7. And finally, what does the future hold for Technically Compatible?

We’re confident we have a really great business based around a great product which is going to change the way people assess IT skills. We’re about to push our experiments overseas to the US, Canada and Australia and on the back of that we want to grow as aggressively as possible, all the while remaining lean of course!

Big thanks to Carl for taking the time to chat with us.

You can find out more about Technically Compatible here, follow Carl @CarlJones84 and the company @TechCompatible.

Write up: Lean Startup 101 – Lean Startup in a Day


This post is a rapid reflection of Saturday’s proceeding, delivered by Tendayi Viki.

Please cross-refer to my earlier post Lean Startup 101 – Lean Startup in a Day for more info.




Initial feedback

Some initial feedback from the survey I sent out:

  1. “Tendayi was absolutely brilliant”
  2. “The speaker Tendayi Viki was not only knowledgeable but also very fun and energetic, keeping interest of the room throughout the day.”
  3. “A good overview of lean. The practical aspect helped reinforce the learning and the other participants made it an enjoyable day.” “It felt quite whistlestop. Good from the point of view of seeing a bit of everything. But at the start there was a lot of jargon that was assumed to be known. Some of which came out during the day, some of which I’ll need to go away and read. I think it would have been advantageous to have read the Eric Reis [sic] lean book before I came but I’m certainly motivated to do so now.”

Wash Up

A top day of Lean Startup learning – with positive feedback, and also things for us Lean North East organisers to learn from.

Big thanks to our sponsors ignite100 and Gateshead College.

We hope you’ll join us for future events; please get in touch if you’d like to help us organise them and the future of Lean Framework learning and exploitation in North East England 🙂