The Failure and Success of Startups - Part 2

The free spirit of entrepreneurship is what makes startups more exciting and relevant. If the founding members are however going to chain their feet and those of others who associate with them, they are creating a certain recipe for failure. Unfortunately, this is the case with most startups that fail. The exaggerated media hype around the idea of entrepreneurship and the irreverent investors with a very short term focus on returns don't help the cause of the startups either.


One hears a lot about the passion of a startup entrepreneur. Is this misplaced for the freedom of imagined power and money. There can be no two opinions about the passion showing up for excellence of their enterprise offering. The journey of excellence is a continuous one and it starts with the right foundation as already discussed in the Part 1 of this article. Designing followed by Transformation and Innovation is the process that will help a startup as well as an established enterprise succeed.


There are Five tenets of Designing that are immutable are:


  1. Learning by Inquiring: The process of discovering what is new on a continuous basis is Inquiring. This is a MUST LEARN discipline for individuals, enterprises and societies. This is what enables the “framing of the questions”.

  2. Mapping by Questioning: This process of Questioning should connect the Life Journeys on the Planet with the Customer Journeys in the context of the journey an enterprise is planning to embark.

  3. Interconnecting by Dialog: This process of dialog should establish the relationships and trust required for collaborating on growth initiatives with the right level of priorities assigned to deliver outcomes that are relevant from a socio-economic context.

  4. Solving by Growing: Solutions that an enterprise builds (especially a startup) should be modeled on Ideas / Concepts that respond to the systemic (no precedent) nature of transformation around us more Systems (Out of the box) and / or systematic (incremental improvements). As already stated, there is no legacy and / or baggage that rides their back and there is no reason for them to invite the monkey. By its very nature therefore, the solutions that contribute to growth will automatically subsume problems that either exist and / or are foreseen. Whether it is investors or the startup founders, the question to address is not “what is the problem statement” but “what is the growth concept?”; where growth is addressed in the context of the aspirations of the customers.

  5. Leading by Sustaining: The leadership in the digital economy is going to be extremely critical in that it will be driven by the convergence of Content, Computing and Communications in real time. A content that is not driven by a powerful narrative will not work on Customers who need to be taken thru the journey of Education, Ownership and Commitment to value the Engagement and Experience that an enterprise creates with its offering. Sustaining does not mean permanence but rather the ability to remain relevant.

This brings us to the most important question of who is the customer that the startup entrepreneur needs to model his entreprise for. There are seven types of customers as listed in the order of importance that the modeling exercise should perceive:

  1. People / Team: That is right. The word employee is passe. The team or the people who associate with the enterprise bringing Intellectual Property are the first creators of economic value.

  2. Clients: These are the businesses / people / communities who pay in exchange for the Platform, Product, Process and / or Project (Services) offered.

  3. Shareholders: The retail / private equity / venture capital / financial lending investors who bring financial capital into the business.

  4. Stakeholders: Those who have a stake in the outcomes that the enterprise offers including Founders and Regulators.

  5. Business Partners: Those who enable the business either in collaboration or through interventions.

  6. Vendors: Those who offer Products / Services that essentially go into the making of the enterprise's offerings.

  7. Society: Those geographies where the enterprise wishes to operate its business.


Design Thinking is a method that enables entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs alike to continuously align an enterprise to the relevance by renewing the process of Design, Innovation and Transformation. It is a must for startups to leverage this method to think and act. Register today for the Level 1 Certification program that Hreeemm has organized at the Hilton Bangalore on March 26 - 28, 2018 by clicking the following link: https://goo.gl/5tHLrk

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