Steve Blank is a serial technology entrepreneur, consulting associate professor at Stanford University, and lecturer and National Science Foundation investigator at the University of California in Berkeley and Columbia University.   He has written extensively and teaches on the subject of creating “lean start-ups.”

“It’s a methodology called the “lean start-up,” and it favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development.” One of the clear advantages is better risk management of the start up process and much more efficiency. The process helps start-ups learn to launch products that customers want and need less expensively and faster than traditional methods.

In one of Steve’s blogs, there is an interesting discussion of the advantages of this approach in the life science industry. The article is called “The 7 Deadly Healthcare Startup Sins” and includes discussion from Todd Dunn, the Director of Innovation for Intermountain Healthcare ( Though this article was written a couple of years ago, the points are really terrific and worth reading, as many start ups in healthcare and digital healthcare still do not consider these risks carefully enough. His points consider a variety of issues such as where to host the data, complexity of getting proof of concept, how to interpret that data to a wider audience, better consideration of the work flow of the customer, and not knowing the competitive landscape well enough. He discusses how the lean start-up process greatly improves the value proposition of the start-ups to their customers, by really learning from and listening to them in a comprehensive way. In an industry with such high development costs and other issues such as regulatory, reimbursement, manufacturing, and expensive distribution, learning as much as you can early on is critical to the future success or failure of the project.

The sustainable business/investment principles we follow (based on natural ecosystem principles for sustainable agriculture known as permaculture) include similar principles and lead to more iterative, collaborative, and efficient methods of building and investing in companies with innovative products or services. The result is a much more solutions-based framework for creating exciting new businesses. The process lowers risk for both the entrepreneurs as well as the investors.

To remind you of these permaculture principles, please see here: