Lean in Berlin

It has been a while since I was in Berlin, at the Lean Startup summit. In my first article, “A coach in Berlin“, I shared my experience from a coaching perspective. The main question was: “What would be the best possible use of being a part of this summit?” After almost three months, I am still recapping my impressions. That is the main reason for this second article.

The literal meaning of the word ’lean’ is without fat. Experts from Toyota have implemented lean in their factory. They use lean (or kaizen) to create a product line without any waste. Nowadays, lean is often connected to the IT world. However, lean can be used not only in IT, because lean is the way of doing business.

But first things first. The whole summit was organized by the lean principle. A lot of ideas, experiments and the most important – learnings. In Berlin, I was acting by lean principles, not only at the summit.

The previous night, I planned my trip to the 1st-day conference, the unconference part. I found the location on google maps and early in the morning I started my “journey”. I had plenty of time to go to the spot. But when I was “there” by navigation, there was a construction site and that wasn’t the right place! After almost an hour of searching and using navigation, I asked the policemen if they could help me.
“Just follow the river,” one of them said. Finally, I was there.
My learnings – Not to believe too much in technology.

Registration was my second shock. My name wasn’t on the registration guestlist! But, as I said previously, the organizers use Lean. Everything was OK, they found my emails simply by using a pen and a piece of paper, and I got my registration card. Congratulations organizers, a customer-centric approach.
The old building was full of people. You could feel the energy everywhere.
My next learning – good vibrations are created by the right people, not by some fancy office space.

On the unconference day, at the great hall, was the main happening.
Experiment – Let’s try to engage people by inviting them to create their own agenda. More than fifty attendees applied for the 5-minute pitch talk. It was really crowdy, at some moments a bit messy, but we got a bunch of very useful ideas from this event.
Learnings – People are more open for new things then I had previously thought.

On the next day, I was there on time.
Again, great organization, a lot of stages and workshops that you could attend to. I’ve already mentioned keynote speakers in the first article.
Experiment – Try to be on every single spot and learn something new.
Learning – Focus and prioritize for the maximum impact.

After a lunch break, I reorganized my schedule in order to gain my learnings. The result was really great. I have found some very interesting keynote speakers and have learned a lot. For example, here are two great quotes which I found very useful:

Focus on a business model, not on a product!
Practice what you preach!

So simple but so true.

In the end, my whole trip to Berlin was one experiment.
The key learning from it: Lean is an absolutely great way to do your business, even coaching or publishing.

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