Building a book lending startup inside one of the world’s largest construction companies.


Carillion is one of the world’s largest construction and facilities management companies. The team there asked us to help them to develop a new online library service that would help teachers to get the right books for their students and save time and money in the process.

Our approach

A new book lending service was such a big departure from Carillion’s core business model and there were so many unknowns that we introduced Carillion to the lean startup methodology and set about building out an initial set of assumptions that we had about the proposition, its underlying business and technology platform. Our focus then shifted to iteratively proving or disproving the hypotheses we had by testing our assumptions with customers through prototypes and an initial minimum viable product.

By using lean we were able to help Carillion to navigate uncertainty throughout the programme. Making sure that we were building a robust business, customer experience and technology platform by avoiding assumptions and making users part of the development process until we got to a validated proposition and business model.


We helped Carillion, traditionally a risk-averse business, to innovate in a completely new sector, getting to market and learning fast to ensure we were making the right thing for customers.