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Previous chapters explored the under-appreciated arts of entrepreneurship. But the scientific method certainly plays an important role as well. Hypothesis-based approaches—with metrics, milestones, roadmaps and timelines—enable a more efficient use of resources as well as better communication and alignment between stakeholders. Venture craftsmen coordinate ad hoc activities with activites relying on planning and experimentation. Art and science merge. The need of startup founders to marry the two is no different from the need of explorers and artisans to combine improvisation and method.
Even as they methodically advance towards successive, predefined milestones, improvisational skills alert venture craftsmen to discrepancies, variations and errors in evolving plans as well as uncover emerging opportunities. They occasionally tinker even as they build advanced prototypes; take the time to engage stakeholders in open-ended conversations even as they rush to mobilize resources; and freely wander into adjacencies even as they focus on chosen markets and business models .
Adaptive planning and experimentation—whether by applying lean methodologies; milestone mapping framework; or other iterative, hypothesis-driven approaches—are necessary but insufficient for achieving sustainable success. As a result, venture craftsmen run their startups as artisanal studios that combine the art and science of entrepreneurship. The startup studio uses an incubation platform—skills, tools, methods and deliverables that help founders and their teams iterate from failure to success. Continuous learning, both planned and improvised, underpins sustainability.
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