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Lean Startups for Social Change: The Revolutionary Path to Big Impact Paperback – November 2, 2015
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“A major step forward for the social sector.”
—Eric Reis, author of The Lean Startup
“Whether you're developing a new campaign or trying to innovate within a large organization, this book delivers the goods for how to make change at an unprecedented scale.”
—Mike Brune Executive Director, Sierra Club
“Gelobter shows how to bring the cutting edge of Silicon Valley to some of the wicked problems facing the social sector. A must-read for all funders and change makers.”
—Barry Gold, Program Director, Walton Family Foundation
“Social change requires not just good ideas but also effective ways to implement them. In this excellent book Michel Gelobter lays out his revolutionary and practical methodology. An immensely valuable contribution.”
—Adam Kahane, Director, Reos Partners, and author of Power and Love
The Lean Startup concept has revolutionized the way businesses are developed. Now Michel Gelobter applies this powerful concept to the social sector.
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Top customer reviews
The fundamental difference of course is that you can't use sales as a surrogate for results in the social sector. This book unpacks what that means for running meaningful experiments and driving value and growth in the social sector. Gelobter is thoughtful about the major cultural factors and then, by chapter 4 dives into the depths of how to bring this method to life. He uses real stories every step of the way. From small, startup non-profits to major government agencies, this book brings lean to life for all the stages in the innovation lifecycle."
After serving both in private sector startups and giant public agency contexts, I gained the most value from the lessons in Gelobter's closing chapter about Institutionalization: Building the Lean Organization. By extending the theory and practice for successful startups to existing and emerging institutions, Lean Startups for Social Change becomes a handbook for change-makers seeking to pick up the pace of progress and sustain those gains for the long haul.
I am generally skeptical of new management philosophies and fads, but Lean is here to stay. Rapid experimentation methods are transforming the business sector and the social sector won't be far behind.
The book isn't just for startups. Anyone who is ready to increase the impact of their organization will get a lot from the book. The book has rich examples from entrepreneurs and long-standing organizations that have implemented Lean to amplify their impact.
My only caveat is that leaders who want to take Lean to the social sector are going to encounter resistance from some colleagues and some colleagues. I've seen this challenge in working with a couple dozen organizations to implement Lean. But it can be overcome and in the end most funders and organizational leaders are hungry for experimentation models that can speed up learning and innovation.
Validated learning is the key. Speed is everything. Over-planning is the enemy of progress.