Introduction to Lean Innovation: The 3 E’s

Lean Innovation transformation combines the creativity of design thinking, the rigor of Lean Startup, and the structure of agile to empower large enterprises to deliver new value. The methodology centers on three principles – Empathy, Experiments and Evidence.

Applying the 3 E’s across the organization produces a deep understanding of customers, mitigates the risk of producing products and services no one wants, and allows you to efficiently allocate capital to ideas that win where it matters: in the market.

Lean Innovation is designed to equip you to be more customer-focused, move faster, and act bolder.

Here is a brief rundown on the 3 E’s of Lean Innovation and how you can identify and apply them in practice.

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Take the first step to understanding your customer by seeing what they see. At its core, empathy means developing a deep understanding of your customers and is the foundation for uncovering new insights, engaging with customers, and ultimately building products that solve real customer pains.

In practice, empathy means:

  • Acquiring collective organizational knowledge about your customers by personally experiencing your customers’ perspective

  • Observing and aligning what your customers actually do, now just what they say they do

  • Synthesizing why people say what they say to build collective understanding that is actionable across your business units



Experimentation is the engine that drives transformative work. Reduce the risk associated with resource investment, move faster with more certainty, and produce tangible evidence to win over key stakeholders and drive your strategic roadmap.

In practice, experimentation means:

  • Winning over internal stakeholders with data that transforms changing opinions into facts

  • Informing decisions with data and customer insights

  • Separating what customers say to be true vs. what is known to be true!

  • Applying, iterating and accelerating the testing of assumptions



Evidence is the result of your empathy and experimentation work. Evidence consists of the data, observations, and new empathy-driven, customer insights you uncovered while practicing Lean Innovation. Evidence also drives our decision making about whether to iterate, persevere, pivot, or kill a project all together. Evidence is used to communicate the pain our customers are feeling to internal stakeholders and drive growth through providing value.

In practice, evidence means:

  • Building external validation of the needs of our customers

  • Eliminating risky assumptions through a structured methodology

  • "Sharing out" your journey, not just "pitching" ideas

  • Taking collective actions based on data, observations, alignment, and insights

Now that you have a clearly defined understanding of the 3 E’s of Lean Innovation, you can apply these principles to help solve the most detrimental challenges facing your organization. But, this is really just the tip of the iceberg...

Take a few minutes to explore the rest of the site. We have many valuable resources, blogs, and other helpful content to give you as much insight into what we do as a company, and how lean innovation practices can be used in a number of situations to solve for a number of problems.  

And of course, if you have any specific questions you would like us to address, you can contact us any time.