Challenges of lean customer discovery as invention

Tatiana Batova, Dave Clark, Daniel Card

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

19 Scopus citations


The lean startup approach to developing products and businesses has become central to entrepreneurial culture. Touted as a scientific approach to creating successful startups, the lean approach relies on customer discovery-A process in which entrepreneurs validate hypotheses about their business models via a rhetorically specific model of interviews with potential customers. In this article, we examine canonical texts of the movement and our own experiences in three lean startup boot camps, in the process exploring the notable absences and silences in the narrow range of texts that define Lean Startup. Lean methods as practiced by government agencies tend to exclude research on user experience design, technology transfer, and qualitative research methods, and foster an underlying suspicion of academic expertise in favor of relying solely on the self-reporting from potential customer segments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIEEE ProComm 2016 - International Professional Communication Conference
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509017614
StatePublished - Nov 9 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event2016 International Professional Communication Conference, IEEE ProComm 2016 - Austin, United States
Duration: Oct 2 2016Oct 5 2016

Publication series

NameIEEE International Professional Communication Conference
ISSN (Print)2158-091X
ISSN (Electronic)2158-1002


Conference2016 International Professional Communication Conference, IEEE ProComm 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Customer development
  • Customer discovery
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Lean startup


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