Lean Impact

Lean Impact : How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good

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Despite enormous investments of time and money, are we making a dent on the social and environmental challenges of our time? What if we could exponentially increase our impact?

Around the world, a new generation is looking beyond greater profits, for meaningful purpose. But, unlike business, few social interventions have achieved significant impact at scale. Inspired by the modern innovation practices, popularized by bestseller The Lean Startup, that have fueled technology breakthroughs touching every aspect of our lives, Lean Impact turns our attention to a new goal - radically greater social good.

Social change is far more complicated than building a new app. It requires more listening, more care, and more stakeholders. To make a lasting difference, solutions must be embraced by beneficiaries, address root causes, and include an engine that can accelerate growth to reach the scale of the need. Lean Impact offers bold ideas to reach audacious goals through customer insight, rapid experimentation and iteration, and a relentless pursuit of impact.

Ann Mei Chang brings a unique perspective from across sectors, from her years as a tech executive in Silicon Valley to her most recent experience as the Chief Innovation Officer at USAID. She vividly illustrates the book with real stories from interviews with over 200 organizations across the US and around the world.

Whether you are a nonprofit, social enterprise, triple bottom line company, foundation, government agency, philanthropist, impact investor, or simply donate your time and money, Lean Impact is an essential guide to maximizing social impact and scale.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 142 x 226 x 26mm | 424g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1. Auflage
  • 1119506603
  • 9781119506607
  • 184,819

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Lean Impact is a hands-on guide designed to exponentially increase the impact of our time and money. Building on the modern innovation practices that have fueled the technological breakthroughs that have touched every aspect of our lives, Lean Impact puts the focus on a new purpose--radically great social good. Of course, making the world a better place is far more complicated than building an app. It involves more listening, more care, and more stakeholders to ensure solutions are fully embraced, address root causes, and include an engine that will drive growth. Lean Impact offers practical tools and strategies that are inspired by the customer-centered, fast iteration, and data-driven approaches popularized by The New York Times bestseller, The Lean Startup.

Lean Impact is designed to maximize social benefit in the face of the complex challenges in today's world. At the heart of the model is the scientific method that relies on hypothesis-driven experiments to reduce risk and increase the pace of learning. It accepts the reality that no solution is likely to be designed perfectly at the outset, thus the ability to rapidly adapt is essential. Lean Impact draws on best practices from The Lean Startup and beyond and introduces new techniques that are tailored to the unique nature and needs of mission-driven organizations. This combination of scientific rigor and entrepreneurial agility can dramatically increase both the depth and breadth of an organization's impact.

Ann Mei Chang brings a rare perspective from across sectors, with her executive roles at top Silicon Valley companies, nonprofits, and government. She vividly illustrates the book with the inspiring, real-life stories and lessons from nonprofits, social enterprises, companies, foundations, government agencies, philanthropists, and impact investors across the United States and around the world.

Lean Impact is the essential guidebook for social change that will help you think big, start small, and relentlessly seek impact.
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Back cover copy


"Ann Mei shines a light on our need for better solutions that can reach far greater scale. Her compelling book, Lean Impact, shows how this can be achieved by bringing together the best practices, resources, and expertise across business, nonprofits, and government. It will change the way you think about social impact."
--Henrietta Holsman Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF

"Nonprofit leaders are all too often bombarded with for-profit strategies that simply do not apply to our very different sector. Lean Impact is different. I have already applied some of its lessons, to great benefit, and would recommend it heartily to anyone interested in making social change at scale."
--Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America

"In Lean Impact, Ann Mei Chang applies an engineering-like mindset to the challenge of achieving positive social impact. This provocative book provides readers a useful way to think about driving change. Her approach should be useful for environmentalists who seek to protect nature at scale--rather than one project at a time."
--Mark R. Tercek, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy and author of Nature's Fortune

"We are living in a pivotal moment where rapid advancements in science, technology, and innovation make it more possible than ever to give all people the chance at a better life. Ann Mei's call to embrace innovation to advance the cause of social justice will help reshape the way we think about fighting inequity around the world."
--Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President, The Rockefeller Foundation

"With equal parts passion, practicality and specificity, Ann Mei Chang has deployed her broad and deep experiences in social transformation to provide the missing link between good work and undeniable impact. Simply put, this is a 'must have' resource for the faith-based community and anyone serious about making each dollar work for the marginalized."
--Dr. Carolyn Woo, Former CEO, Catholic Relief Services

"Lean Impact will help all of us make the world a better place through careful listening, rigorous experimentation, and constant improvement."
--Eric Schmidt, former Executive Chairman, Alphabet
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Table of contents

Foreword xiii

Introduction 1

Part I Inspire

One Innovation Is the Path, Impact Is the Destination 13

Two What Is Your Audacious Goal? 27

Three Love the Problem, Not Your Solution 39

Four Finding the "Big Idea" 53

Five Lessons from The Lean Startup 61

Part II Validate

Six Start Small, Iterate Fast 85

Seven Value 105

Eight Growth 129

Nine Impact 155

Part III Transform

Ten Systems Change 181

Eleven Financing Innovation 191

Twelve A Message to Funders 209

Thirteen Making It Stick 229

Fourteen A World of Impact 243

Disclosures 261

Acknowledgments 263

About the Author 269

Index 271
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About Ann Mei Chang

ANN MEI CHANG is the Executive Director of Lean Impact at Lean Startup Company. Previously, she served at USAID (one of the largest funders of international development) as Chief Innovation Officer and the Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. Prior to her pivot to social good, Ann Mei was a seasoned Silicon Valley executive, with more than twenty years' experience at such leading companies as Google, Apple, and Intuit, as well as a number of startups.
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256 ratings
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3 21% (54)
2 2% (6)
1 0% (1)
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