From Lean Startup to the

Scientific Method


It teaches you to to test ideas before investing time and resources


It teaches you in detail how to test an idea rigorously

The lean startup approach (Eric Ries, 2011) has conquered the startup world thanks to its focus on the importance of running market tests.

"The fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, measure how customers respond, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere."

Today the best startup accelerators in the world teach the lean startup approach and push entrepreneurs to interview their potential customers at the early stages of their project in order to obtain the feedback which is necessary to build a successful product. 

Nevertheless, the great majority of innovative projects keeps failing...

The famous McDonald's case

Some years ago McDonald's goal was to increase the sale of milkshakes. The innovation team of McDonald's followed a lean approach: it called a  focus group of customers and asked them "According to you, what is the most tasty milkshake flavor?". After months of talks and research, the new milkshake flavor formula was launched on the market. Result? Sales were flat... 


It was a methodoloical problem: McDonald's assume the reason whe people consume the milkshake is the flavor. Instead, after studying the problem in a more structured way, it became clear how the job to be done (Christensen, 2000) of the milkshake, that is the benefit it provides to customers, is "to keep them company" during commuting.

From that moment onwards, McDonald's elaborated different product/service solutions: a transparent packaging which makes it visible to consumers how much milkshake is left and has created a thicker blend, such that it lasts for longer. Sales increased exponentially thereafter.

How to avoid making mistakes

The truth is that running a test is not sufficient. One needs to know how to do it in order to collect the right information.

The scientific method goes into the details of how you should run customer interview, who you should interview, what questions you should and should not ask, which data you should collect and teaches entrepreneurs which biases to watch out for.

Entrepreneurs need to have a clear theory of what they need to test, build tests which are free of cognitive biases, identify reliable metrics, establish specific criteria to learn from data and understand whether an hypothesis is validated or not, and last, process all information with precise decision models which allow the entrepreneur to take accurate decisions

What some of our startups said after using the method

90% of potential customers initially told me it would buy my product. Once we got out in the market, no one actually bought it...Finally, after using the method, I know there are some questions I should ask in a different way or they risk providing me with biased results.

Each user gave me different opinions on how our website should be structured and we did not know how to choose the best version for all. Today we know how to run split tests by which we can compare the actual performance of different versions.

We had a perfect pitch and good metrics but we could not raise funds. Now we have method to understand what factors influence investors' investments decisions.