Lean Startups for Social Change

The Revolutionary Path to Big Impact

Michel Gelobter (Author)

Publication date: 11/02/2015

Lean Startups for Social Change

“There’s a new way to change the world,” writes social entrepreneur Michel Gelobter. It's called the lean startup—but it’s not just for new ventures. It’s been revolutionizing businesses of all ages for years, and Gelobter shows it can have the same transformative impact on the social sector.

Traditionally, entrepreneurs develop a detailed plan, find money to fund it, and then pursue it to its conclusion. But conditions can change drastically at any point—you can end up locked into a process based on now-obsolete assumptions. The lean startup is all about agility and flexibility. Its mantra is “build, measure, learn”: create small experimental initiatives, get real-world feedback on them quickly, and use that data to identify what works and discard what doesn’t. And then test some more.

Gelobter explains exactly how nonprofits and advocacy organizations can adapt lean startup concepts to their unique circumstances. He offers dozens of real-world examples: an established homelessness group whose data analysis showed that reducing a single overlooked metric could get many more people off the street; a technology-based literacy startup that used lean techniques to reach 2 million children in two years, when a more traditional program took fifteen; and many others. The standard approach wastes time and money—the lean startup promises to help social sector organizations vastly increase the good they do.

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Book Details
Overview

“There’s a new way to change the world,” writes social entrepreneur Michel Gelobter. It's called the lean startup—but it’s not just for new ventures. It’s been revolutionizing businesses of all ages for years, and Gelobter shows it can have the same transformative impact on the social sector.

Traditionally, entrepreneurs develop a detailed plan, find money to fund it, and then pursue it to its conclusion. But conditions can change drastically at any point—you can end up locked into a process based on now-obsolete assumptions. The lean startup is all about agility and flexibility. Its mantra is “build, measure, learn”: create small experimental initiatives, get real-world feedback on them quickly, and use that data to identify what works and discard what doesn’t. And then test some more.

Gelobter explains exactly how nonprofits and advocacy organizations can adapt lean startup concepts to their unique circumstances. He offers dozens of real-world examples: an established homelessness group whose data analysis showed that reducing a single overlooked metric could get many more people off the street; a technology-based literacy startup that used lean techniques to reach 2 million children in two years, when a more traditional program took fifteen; and many others. The standard approach wastes time and money—the lean startup promises to help social sector organizations vastly increase the good they do.

About the Author
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Excerpt

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