If you’re even slightly familiar with the entrepreneurial world, you most likely navigate in tag cloud of methodologies, including design-thinking, lean startup, agile, scrum, etc. They are all useful in their own scope and contribute to easing up the process of building (or rethinking) a company.

The question here is: how do they actually fit in altogether? To put some order in this mishmash of methodologies, this week we have welcomed a seasoned entrepreneur, awarded Great Place to Work in Spain for 3 consecutive years, Alex Rios. Besides sharing his knowledge with all participants in this week’s workshop, Alex is also an official mentor for one of our Collider teams; and we couldn’t be more honoured to have him among our expert’s pool.

As Alex explained, spotting the right customers through design thinking is a process among two worlds, the concrete and the abstract. It all begins defining the challenge and “ends” in an ongoing wheel of iteration. To add some clarity and structure, here’s our quick guide to distinguishing between design thinking, lean startup and agile:

Design Thinking. The process starts identifying the customer’s pain. This involves using observation to get a clear picture of the challenge and understand the user’s problem. All the insights recorded from observation are then gathered and framed into a list of opportunities which should potentially give an answer to the challenge. That is where we switch from analysing customer problems to brainstorming actual solutions. However, we’re in the abstract world, still, and these potential opportunities should be validated to see if there’s a market fit for real. How? The lean startup method.

Lean startup. Named after a book by Eric Ries, the lean startup defends that “Startup success can be engineered by following [a] process, which means it can be learned, which means it can be taught.” One of the major principles of this process is build-measure-learn. That is where we turn ideas into products and test them in a constant turnaround to improve your product via perseverating or pivoting. If you’re interested in the lean startup and its 5 main principles, you may read more here. The lean start-up offers a structure, a guide to validate your hypotheses. Still, a micro-management system is required to follow your day-to-day strategy. This is where Agile comes useful.

Agile. Agile is a project development methodology born for the software field but easily extended to any other one and it has become very popular in recent years. In fact, as of 2017, 94% of organisations practice Agile in some form, according to VersionOne’s State of Agile Report. Agile methodologies are rooted in flexibility and adaptability, planning, early delivery and continuous improvement. There are two main agile methods (Scrum and Kanban) – for a clear picture between these two you might want to read this article.

Hope this insight into “design-thinking meets customers” has shed some light to make your future ambitions and project ideas come true.