Lean Startups

Why the Lean Startup Model Might Save Your Life

For Steve Blank, tackling the hurdle of developing life-science products is his Mount Everest.

Over the past three years, Steve Blank has taught a “Lean LaunchPad” course through the National Science Foundation, instructing about 400 teams of students in robotics, computer science, materials science and geoscience how to commercialize their tech ideas. The curriculum focuses on the business model canvas and students speak one-on-one with consumers to test their market hypotheses.

Related: How This Early-Stage Biotech Landed Mega-VC Funding

But now he’s ready to take on a favorite subject of his: life science. Just this week, he launched the Innovation Corps program at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., to teach entrepreneurs involved with developing therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices how to more quickly move their ideas from the lab bench to the bedside.

This is no easy feat. The industry is beset with barriers to entry and continues to evolve along with changes in health care policy and the rapid growth of health apps. Innovators in this field face challenges ranging from navigating Food and Drug Administration regulations to having to undergo clinical trials. These are things the typical Internet startup never has to worry about.

That’s why Blank enlisted a team of experts involved with therapeutics, diagnostics, venture capital and industrial research to help him teach the Innovation Corps. Blank says combining their expertise with the “lean” method will spur biomedical innovation and perhaps save lives.

In this video, the authority on the Lean Startup movement discusses how to position oneself for success in biotech and why conquering the commercialization process for life-science products would mean a sea change for the innovation economy.

Related: Lean Startup Lessons for Healthcare Businesses

Edition: October 2016

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