Leanconf returns to Manchester

Leanconf is a conference based on Lean Start-up methods that was launched in Manchester last year. This year’s event at the Comedy Store at Deansgate Locks saw double the attendance figures with just over 300 visitors.

I’ve never been to such a diverse conference – it was great to see people from all over Europe – and indeed the world – coming together to learn how to be more efficient and profitable within their businesses.

Although the Lean Start-up theory was originally aimed at traditional tech start-ups, this conference sees at least 60% of its attendees from larger corporate and enterprise businesses, keen to bring the Lean way of thinking into their departments. These methods are ideal to test out innovative ideas before committing large budgets to them.

The Lean Start-Up methods are based on Toyota’s Lean Manufacturing and guide new businesses to test everything they are doing as soon as possible. By efficiently testing that the product or service is what the consumer actually wants, they should reach profitability more quickly.

The Government gets it right!

Barry O’Reilly talked about being a Lean Enterprise and gave the great example of the new Government Gov.uk website. The Government does not have a great reputation for being massively forward thinking in terms of digital.

Although a huge project, the  website initially began with a very small team set up to test what worked and what didn’t. The entire process was continually tested, with feedback fed into the loop and resolved. Transparency has been built into the whole digital approach and you can read the progress on upcoming changes and features on the Digital Service blog.

New apps to try

Hayley Conick from Elance Desk gave a great overview of some the new apps they’ve provided employees to work on. The ones I made a note of to try out are: Vivino, the wine tasting app, Rome2Rio, an international travel timetable app, Hassle.com, which provides vetted cleaners for £10 per hour, and Stylect, a Tinder-style app for shoes.

Do the hard work

There was a great talk by Leon Pals, chairman of Start-up Foundation from Rotterdam, who talked about the Start-Up weekends and meet-ups that he has founded around the globe. This was a really inspirational talk, which ended with his top tips: do the hard work, but enjoy yourself.

As a PR agency who works with technology clients ranging from start-ups through to large corporations, it was interesting to us to find out more about Lean Start-Up theory and see how it can be put into practice.

Overall, Leanconf could be useful for any business as the theories can be applied to anything. Gaining feedback from potential customers or clients before you commit time and money to working on a project is something that all businesses should bear in mind!

If you can’t wait until next year’s event, then you can go along to Lean Start-Up Manchester (otherwise known as LeanManc).

The author

Nikki is a director and co-founder of Fourth Day

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