General Electric (GE), a multinational conglomerate, faced a crisis of stagnation and inefficiency. To combat this, they adopted the Lean Startup methodology, a strategy that encourages experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional ‘big design up front’ development. This approach led to radical changes in the company’s culture and saved millions of dollars.

The Lean Startup methodology was introduced to GE by Eric Ries, its creator, in 2012. He taught the principles to a group of managers, who then implemented this approach in their departments. The results were remarkable: projects that would usually take years were completed in months, costs were significantly reduced, and the company’s productivity increased.

GE’s FastWorks programme, based on the Lean Startup principles, was launched to bring this methodology to the entire organisation. This programme emphasised the importance of validating assumptions through customer feedback before making any significant investments.

One of the main successes of the FastWorks programme was the development of a new engine for the oil and gas industry. By applying Lean Startup principles, the team was able to build a prototype within a year, saving millions of dollars and months of development time.

The adoption of the Lean Startup methodology has transformed GE’s culture, making it more agile, efficient, and customer-focused. Despite initial resistance, the approach has proven to be effective in a large, established company, demonstrating its versatility and potential for widespread application.

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