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Quora Answer : Could a president or other leader run a government based on lean startup principles?

Jan 23, 2018


The point about "lean startup" is that you have a small, agile entity, the company, which has one job : to grow and make money. Unlike other startups, its aims to grow organically by making money (or at least getting customers) right from the start. But its main character is smallness and freedom.

On the other hand, government comes laden with responsibilities. Everyone dreams of freeing government from all the responsibilities, so it can act in a more agile manner.

But WTF is the point of a government that doesn't see its job as "being responsible"? Government's job is to protect the country, and the citizens, and their welfare, and their health, and ensure the next generation get educated, and the infrastructure doesn't fall apart, and the food is safe to eat, and the water unpolluted, and the environment protected, and protect citizens' freedoms, and protect minorities from majorities who want the freedom to exercise their prejudice etc. etc.

Government never starts off as a "minimal viable product". It's maximal from the word go. But having started maximal, you don't particularly want it to grow further. It's not trying to expand the way the lean startup is.

So, while there are undoubtedly a few tactics government could learn from lean. (And vice versa) They are very different kinds of entities, with different goals, different functional relationships with the rest of society. And it's unlikely you can do government "better" by aping a bunch of practices from "lean".

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