Two Jewell teams of students and faculty were awarded first and second place in the Lean Startup Machine Competition November 22 through 24 in Kansas City. Sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship and Google Fiber, the competition featured eight teams comprised of students, entrepreneurs, and community members. The Jewell teams competed against entrepreneurship teams from KU, UMKC and Rockhurst University.
First place winning team SurgeBar was tasked with solving the problem of phone batteries dying in bars and restaurants while team TimeForKids sought solutions to provide volunteer help to teachers.
The Lean Startup Machine Competition is an intensive three-day workshop which teaches entrepreneurs and innovators how to build disruptive products.
The workshop kicks off with a series of product pitches that help attendees organize into teams. Everyone works on a NEW idea. Each team then develops its problem hypothesis, solution hypothesis and a series of assumptions that are core to the success of the business.
Next, each team creates an MVP, or “Minimum Viable Product.” The goal of the MVP test is to “Get Out Of the Building,” speak with real customers and to collect cash or non-cash currency that serves as validation.
The process promotes a problem-centric approach to business ideation. By continuously validating and invalidating assumptions, teams are forced to pivot their solution (and even problem) toward a true customer pain rather than creating a solution and then seeking customers with a problem after-the-fact.
The event culminates with each team pitching its new solutions and its experience using the process. In this competition the winning team is not selected based on who has the best idea, but instead on which team honors the process and gains the most insights through its pivots.