Applying Lean Methodologies to the Development of an Entrepreneurial Venture in Education
CitationTran, Buudoan. 2015. Applying Lean Methodologies to the Development of an Entrepreneurial Venture in Education. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Abstract“The only thing that matters is getting to product/market fit.” - Marc Andreessen
Many educational products have flooded the American K-12 market in recent years, launched by startups and established educational institutions alike. Many of these startups will fail, and seasoned entrepreneurs and business strategists suggest that failure results primarily from the inability to access a sizeable market and address the needs of that market with the correct product, what Andreessen calls “product/market fit.” The "Lean Startup” methodology, popularized by entrepreneurs like Steve Blank and Eric Ries, has gained significant popularity as a process for achieving product/market fit. Users of the Lean Startup method articulate all of their assumptions about the market and product and create small and inexpensive tests to validate or invalidate these assumptions. At each round of results of assumption testing, the enterprise has the choice to “pivot, persist, or perish” in the belief that the right pivots will ultimately achieve product/market fit.
This capstone details my work as a founder of The Teaching Genome as I pivoted, persisted and avoided perishing. The Teaching Genome is an assessment that can discern the teaching style of a user and a series of tools that use these results to improve teaching and learning. The idea for the Teaching Genome developed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and NewSchools Venture Fund hosted me as its founder and incubated the idea over the course of the residency year. In this capstone, I chronicle the process of developing a product with clear assumptions related to its impact and financial sustainability. I also describe the pilots that tested those assumptions, the results of those tests and the responding pivots. Drawing upon research on the characteristics of innovations that spread and scale and research on the dominant norms in education, I offer explanations of what constitutes product/market fit in the education sector and describe the implications of my learning on the future of the Teaching Genome. These findings contain implications for those seeking to develop educational interventions from inside or outside school systems, especially for actors looking to achieve wide-spread adoption.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:16645018