Currently, various startup methodologies show startups how to search for their product/market fit without factoring in the social and planetary costs of their chosen business models. By including these hidden costs, we can teach a new generation of startups to innovate with more responsible business models.

Exposing hidden assumptions

By definition, startups face great uncertainly as they aim to validate their problem and solution on the market and search for the elusive product/market fit. The fast cycle of initial experimentation might not seem like the time to think about ethics, inclusivity, and sustainability, but these aspects are baked into the initial assumptions of startups, whether we think about them or not.

Avoiding the tough questions at the beginning of a startup’s journey will only make it more difficult to abandon a non-responsible solution that happens to find product/market fit – especially if the startup is trying to hit aggressive growth targets dictated by investors.

This is why the best time to start implementing responsible product development practices is at the very beginning of a startup’s journey and set the right tone for the company we aim to build.

As Eric Ries writes in the Epilogue of The Lean Startup: “We believe that most forms of waste in innovation are preventable once their causes are understood. All that is required is that we change our collective mind-set concerning how this work is to be done.”

Let’s explore how we can evolve the most popular startup methodologies to build a new generation of more responsible startups: