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The A-Z’s of Lean 
for Social Good 
We’ll start in a few minutes… 
Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
What we’re talking about today 
• Lean Startup –what is it and why should I care? 
• The basic principles of Lean Startup 
• Defining three key Lean concepts + examples 
• Ways to get started 
@leahtn #leanimpact
You’ll get the deck 
• We’ll send you the deck after the webinar 
• Archived on NetImpactwebsite 
• You’ll get a copy of The Ultimate Dictionary of Lean for Social 
Good 
@leahtn #leanimpact
Who am I? 
• I’m Leanne Pittsford or @lepitts, the co-founder 
of Lean Impact, helping social 
good organizations apply Lean Startup 
principles 
• I’m also the founder of Social Good Tech 
Week & Lesbians Who Tech 
• I’ve worked at tech startups and have 
founded companies using Lean methods 
• Fun fact: I run the blog “When You Work At 
A Nonprofit” 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The A-Z’s of Lean 
for Social Good 
Let’s get started… 
Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
What do we mean by “Lean”? 
The old definition: 
Having no money 
Doing more with less 
@lepitts #leanimpact
What do we mean by “Lean”? 
The new definition: 
Lean organizations develop products, services and campaigns by 
starting small, soliciting user feedback along the way, ensuring they 
are continually developing something that users want, 
and pivoting if necessary. 
The overall goal is to reduce waste: 
wasted time, wasted effort, and wasted money. 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Where Lean came from 
Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup 
@lepitts #leanimpact
But actually, that came from… 
Lean manufacturing, from Toyota 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The old way: startups 
• Have an idea 
• Start working on it, behind closed doors 
• Take funding to build it 
• Take 18-24 months to finish it 
• Release it to the world 
• Expect people to buy it 
Idea Build Launch, 
Measure, 
Learn 
@leanimpact / #leanimpact @lepitts
The old way: startups 
• Have an idea 
• Start working on it, behind closed doors 
• Take funding to build it 
• Take 18-24 months to finish it 
• Release it to the world 
• Expect people to buy it 
Idea Build Launch, 
Measure, 
Learn 
Dud 
(90% of the 
time) 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The old way: startups 
• Have an idea 
• Start working on it, behind closed doors 
• Take funding to build it 
• Take 18-24 months to finish it 
• Release it to the world 
• Expect people to buy it 
Idea Build Launch, 
Measure, 
Learn 
Customer feedback 
comes here 
Dud 
(90% of the 
time) 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The old way: social good 
• Have an idea for a program, service, campaign, etc. 
• Put staff on it 
• Take many months to finish it 
• Release the pilot to the world 
• Expect it to be successful 
Feedback comes here 
Idea Build Launch, 
Measure, 
Learn 
?? 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The new way: startups 
• Have an idea 
• Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) 
• Get it in the hands of customers 
• Gather feedback 
• Make refinements 
• And on and on 
User Feedback 
Idea Build 
Measure, 
Learn 
User Feedback 
Build 
Measure, 
Learn 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The new way: startups 
• Have an idea 
• Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) 
• Get it in the hands of customers 
• Gather feedback 
• Make refinements 
• And on and on 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The new way: startups 
• Have an idea 
• Create a Minimum Viable Product 
• Get it in the hands of customers 
• Gather feedback 
• Make refinements 
• And on and on 
Build 
Measure 
Learn 
User 
Feedback 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Basically… 
BUILD 
Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that you can get 
into the hands of customers quickly 
MEASURE 
Use metrics see how customers use your MVP 
LEARN 
Learn from these results. Either continue on the same 
course, continue with some modifications, or pivot. 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Why should social good 
organizations care? 
• Time and money are at a premium 
• You can’t afford to waste months on something that may 
or may not work 
• You need to find out quickly if something is viable, so you 
can either pursue it or ditch it 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Defining Three Key Lean Concepts 
Minimum Viable Product 
Get Out Of The Building 
Pivot 
@lepitts #leanimpact
M is for… 
Minimum Viable 
Product 
Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
What is a Minimum Viable 
Product? 
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an early version of a 
product or service, and contains only the bare minimum 
features that allow it to be deployed to early users. 
It means: 
- Bare bones 
- Not pretty 
- Manual 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Fasal 
• SMS-based program designed to give farmers in India 
current market prices, so they can sell their crops for a 
profit 
• Started with a Minimum Viable Product 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Fasal 
• Final product vision: SMS messages automatically sent 
to users 
• MVP version: One of the team members manually sent 
SMS price alerts to early users 
• Final product vision: Voice response technology would 
send daily automated phone calls with price updates 
• MVP version: One of the team members recorded the 
“automated” voice 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Fasal 
• The Fasal team studied how early users used the service 
• Only when they were sure that people would use the 
service, did they invest in building out the full vision 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Key Elements of an MVP 
• No cost / low cost 
• Easy set-up and maintenance 
• Measurable 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Why create an MVP? 
It allows you to test your assumptions: 
• See if there’s a need for it, before you invest in something 
• Find out if it’s a viable idea worth your team’s time 
• Eliminate wasted time 
• Eliminate wasted money 
• If people will use it, THEN start building it out 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Gateway Green 
• Gateway Green is a project in Portland, Oregon to turn a 
stretch of unused land into a multi-use bike park. 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Gateway Green 
• The assumption: residents of Portland want a multi-use 
outdoor space for recreation and preservation 
• The MVP: an Indiegogo campaign, to see if there is public 
support for the project 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Gateway Green 
• Metrics: funds raised + funders 
• The result: 
• $123,880 raised 
• 723 funders 
“This project will need millions of dollars to be fully 
built out. While the crowdfunding campaign will 
raise just a small chunk of that, backers see it more 
as an opportunity to show the powers-that-be that 
the public is behind this project and that it's worth 
putting real money into.” – BikePortland.org 
@lepitts #leanimpact
G is for… 
Get Out Of The 
Building 
Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
What is Getting Out of the 
Building? 
Get Out of the Building refers to the idea that to create a 
valuable product, service or campaign, you need to talk to 
the people who will potentially use it. 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Let’s talk about assumptions 
We base a lot of our work on assumptions 
(it’s not just you, everyone does it) 
A few assumptions: 
• X group needs more information on Y (it’s an information problem) 
• Our donors want to hear more about X issue (we know our donors) 
• The best thing to help X group, is Y service (we know how to help 
them) 
@lepitts #leanimpact
“No facts exist inside the building. 
Only opinions.” 
- Steve Blank, Author, 
The Startup Owner’s Manual 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Getting out of the building 
• Putting the product or service in front of the people who 
will actually use it 
• What happens when they use it 
What it’s not: 
• Online surveys 
• Phone calls 
• Polls 
• “Would you use this?” 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Why get out of the building? 
By getting outside the building, you can get actual, 
actionable feedback, and minimize the risk that a product, 
service, campaign or program will fail by verifying your 
theories with actual customers. 
@lepitts #leanimpact
IDEO.org 
• Creating a financial service program in Mexico 
• Started with a Minimum Viable Product 
@lepitts #leanimpact
IDEO.org 
• Mocked up an ATM, using an iPad and plastic casing to 
create a “working” prototype. 
• Created a mockup “program” for the software using 
Keynote presentation software. 
• Created sample brochures, manual SMS alerts 
@lepitts #leanimpact
IDEO.org 
“Our concepts evolved a great deal by walking the Mexicans 
we met with through our prototypes and hearing their 
reactions. We were able to find out how quickly someone 
understood the idea, whether a certain feature made sense, 
and figure out which elements needed to change. “ 
- Patrice Martin, IDEO 
@lepitts #leanimpact
The Conceptual Four Walls 
It can also refer to looking beyond the conceptual “four 
walls” of your industry to learn from other industries and 
things they’re doing. 
Ways to get outside the building: 
• Read blogs about technology or innovation 
• Read books about entrepreneurship 
• Watch TED talks 
• Go to a startup event or meetup 
• Attend a Startup Weekend event 
@lepitts #leanimpact
P is for… 
Pivot 
Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
What is Pivoting? 
Pivot means significantly changing the direction of a product 
or service strategy. Organizations will pivot when a current 
idea is not working or not getting traction, or when the MVP 
needs significant improvement. 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Lean Impact 
• Circa January 2013 
• Assumption: People will pay $20 for an online conference, to learn 
about Lean Startup in the social good space 
• Minimum Viable Product: 
• Lining up a few speakers 
• Basic website 
• Eventbrite registration 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Lean Impact 
• We sold 4 tickets 
• Assumption: DISPROVED 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Lean Impact 
• Getting Out of the Building: 
• Reached out to potential attendees 
• Google Hangout feedback sessions 
• We learned that people needed an in-person experience 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Lean Impact 
• We pivoted: 
• Planned launch parties in New York, DC and San Francisco 
• Each party had over 500 registrants and 300 people through 
the door 
• By creating an MVP , we saved money and had our answer in 60 
days 
• By Pivoting, we were able to create something that provided value 
to our audience 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Lean Impact 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Lean for Social Good Summits 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Pivot // Social Good Tech Week 
@lepitts #leanimpact
In Summary 
• Using Lean principles: 
• Is less risk than investing months on something 
• Is easy to try, using the approach and tools here 
• Gives you quick data so you know whether to move 
forward 
Most people are quick to stop you before you get started, 
but hesitant to get in the way if you’re moving! 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Resources & Programs 
• Read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 
• Take a course 
• Udemy – The Lean Startup Course 
• Acumen Lean for Social Impact 
• Adopt a testing mindset 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Further Reading 
• The Ultimate Dictionary of Lean for Social Good – 
leanimpact.org 
• What would The Lean Startup Look Like for Nonprofits? 
By Sasha Dichter 
• The Lean Startup by Eric Ries 
• Don’t Overthink It by Leah Neaderthal 
@lepitts #leanimpact
Thanks! 
Leanne Pittsford 
Co-Founder, Lean Impact 
www.leanimpact.org 
Leanne@lesbianswhotech.org 
@lepitts 
@lepitts #leanimpact

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Lean Impact–Lean Startup for Mission-driven Organizations by Leanne Pittsford - The Lean Startup Conference 12/9/14

  • 1. The A-Z’s of Lean for Social Good We’ll start in a few minutes… Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
  • 2. What we’re talking about today • Lean Startup –what is it and why should I care? • The basic principles of Lean Startup • Defining three key Lean concepts + examples • Ways to get started @leahtn #leanimpact
  • 3. You’ll get the deck • We’ll send you the deck after the webinar • Archived on NetImpactwebsite • You’ll get a copy of The Ultimate Dictionary of Lean for Social Good @leahtn #leanimpact
  • 4. Who am I? • I’m Leanne Pittsford or @lepitts, the co-founder of Lean Impact, helping social good organizations apply Lean Startup principles • I’m also the founder of Social Good Tech Week & Lesbians Who Tech • I’ve worked at tech startups and have founded companies using Lean methods • Fun fact: I run the blog “When You Work At A Nonprofit” @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 5. The A-Z’s of Lean for Social Good Let’s get started… Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
  • 6. What do we mean by “Lean”? The old definition: Having no money Doing more with less @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 7. What do we mean by “Lean”? The new definition: Lean organizations develop products, services and campaigns by starting small, soliciting user feedback along the way, ensuring they are continually developing something that users want, and pivoting if necessary. The overall goal is to reduce waste: wasted time, wasted effort, and wasted money. @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 8. Where Lean came from Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 9. But actually, that came from… Lean manufacturing, from Toyota @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 10. The old way: startups • Have an idea • Start working on it, behind closed doors • Take funding to build it • Take 18-24 months to finish it • Release it to the world • Expect people to buy it Idea Build Launch, Measure, Learn @leanimpact / #leanimpact @lepitts
  • 11. The old way: startups • Have an idea • Start working on it, behind closed doors • Take funding to build it • Take 18-24 months to finish it • Release it to the world • Expect people to buy it Idea Build Launch, Measure, Learn Dud (90% of the time) @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 12. The old way: startups • Have an idea • Start working on it, behind closed doors • Take funding to build it • Take 18-24 months to finish it • Release it to the world • Expect people to buy it Idea Build Launch, Measure, Learn Customer feedback comes here Dud (90% of the time) @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 13. The old way: social good • Have an idea for a program, service, campaign, etc. • Put staff on it • Take many months to finish it • Release the pilot to the world • Expect it to be successful Feedback comes here Idea Build Launch, Measure, Learn ?? @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 14. The new way: startups • Have an idea • Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) • Get it in the hands of customers • Gather feedback • Make refinements • And on and on User Feedback Idea Build Measure, Learn User Feedback Build Measure, Learn @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 15. The new way: startups • Have an idea • Create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) • Get it in the hands of customers • Gather feedback • Make refinements • And on and on @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 16. The new way: startups • Have an idea • Create a Minimum Viable Product • Get it in the hands of customers • Gather feedback • Make refinements • And on and on Build Measure Learn User Feedback @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 17. Basically… BUILD Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that you can get into the hands of customers quickly MEASURE Use metrics see how customers use your MVP LEARN Learn from these results. Either continue on the same course, continue with some modifications, or pivot. @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 18. Why should social good organizations care? • Time and money are at a premium • You can’t afford to waste months on something that may or may not work • You need to find out quickly if something is viable, so you can either pursue it or ditch it @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 19. Defining Three Key Lean Concepts Minimum Viable Product Get Out Of The Building Pivot @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 20. M is for… Minimum Viable Product Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
  • 21. What is a Minimum Viable Product? A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an early version of a product or service, and contains only the bare minimum features that allow it to be deployed to early users. It means: - Bare bones - Not pretty - Manual @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 22. Fasal • SMS-based program designed to give farmers in India current market prices, so they can sell their crops for a profit • Started with a Minimum Viable Product @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 23. Fasal • Final product vision: SMS messages automatically sent to users • MVP version: One of the team members manually sent SMS price alerts to early users • Final product vision: Voice response technology would send daily automated phone calls with price updates • MVP version: One of the team members recorded the “automated” voice @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 24. Fasal • The Fasal team studied how early users used the service • Only when they were sure that people would use the service, did they invest in building out the full vision @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 25. Key Elements of an MVP • No cost / low cost • Easy set-up and maintenance • Measurable @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 26. Why create an MVP? It allows you to test your assumptions: • See if there’s a need for it, before you invest in something • Find out if it’s a viable idea worth your team’s time • Eliminate wasted time • Eliminate wasted money • If people will use it, THEN start building it out @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 27. Gateway Green • Gateway Green is a project in Portland, Oregon to turn a stretch of unused land into a multi-use bike park. @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 28. Gateway Green • The assumption: residents of Portland want a multi-use outdoor space for recreation and preservation • The MVP: an Indiegogo campaign, to see if there is public support for the project @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 29. Gateway Green • Metrics: funds raised + funders • The result: • $123,880 raised • 723 funders “This project will need millions of dollars to be fully built out. While the crowdfunding campaign will raise just a small chunk of that, backers see it more as an opportunity to show the powers-that-be that the public is behind this project and that it's worth putting real money into.” – BikePortland.org @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 30. G is for… Get Out Of The Building Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
  • 31. What is Getting Out of the Building? Get Out of the Building refers to the idea that to create a valuable product, service or campaign, you need to talk to the people who will potentially use it. @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 32. Let’s talk about assumptions We base a lot of our work on assumptions (it’s not just you, everyone does it) A few assumptions: • X group needs more information on Y (it’s an information problem) • Our donors want to hear more about X issue (we know our donors) • The best thing to help X group, is Y service (we know how to help them) @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 33. “No facts exist inside the building. Only opinions.” - Steve Blank, Author, The Startup Owner’s Manual @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 34. Getting out of the building • Putting the product or service in front of the people who will actually use it • What happens when they use it What it’s not: • Online surveys • Phone calls • Polls • “Would you use this?” @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 35. Why get out of the building? By getting outside the building, you can get actual, actionable feedback, and minimize the risk that a product, service, campaign or program will fail by verifying your theories with actual customers. @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 36. IDEO.org • Creating a financial service program in Mexico • Started with a Minimum Viable Product @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 37. IDEO.org • Mocked up an ATM, using an iPad and plastic casing to create a “working” prototype. • Created a mockup “program” for the software using Keynote presentation software. • Created sample brochures, manual SMS alerts @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 38. IDEO.org “Our concepts evolved a great deal by walking the Mexicans we met with through our prototypes and hearing their reactions. We were able to find out how quickly someone understood the idea, whether a certain feature made sense, and figure out which elements needed to change. “ - Patrice Martin, IDEO @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 39. The Conceptual Four Walls It can also refer to looking beyond the conceptual “four walls” of your industry to learn from other industries and things they’re doing. Ways to get outside the building: • Read blogs about technology or innovation • Read books about entrepreneurship • Watch TED talks • Go to a startup event or meetup • Attend a Startup Weekend event @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 40. P is for… Pivot Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org
  • 41. What is Pivoting? Pivot means significantly changing the direction of a product or service strategy. Organizations will pivot when a current idea is not working or not getting traction, or when the MVP needs significant improvement. @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 42. Lean Impact • Circa January 2013 • Assumption: People will pay $20 for an online conference, to learn about Lean Startup in the social good space • Minimum Viable Product: • Lining up a few speakers • Basic website • Eventbrite registration @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 43. Lean Impact • We sold 4 tickets • Assumption: DISPROVED @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 44. Lean Impact • Getting Out of the Building: • Reached out to potential attendees • Google Hangout feedback sessions • We learned that people needed an in-person experience @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 45. Lean Impact • We pivoted: • Planned launch parties in New York, DC and San Francisco • Each party had over 500 registrants and 300 people through the door • By creating an MVP , we saved money and had our answer in 60 days • By Pivoting, we were able to create something that provided value to our audience @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 46. Lean Impact @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 47. Lean for Social Good Summits @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 48. Pivot // Social Good Tech Week @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 49. In Summary • Using Lean principles: • Is less risk than investing months on something • Is easy to try, using the approach and tools here • Gives you quick data so you know whether to move forward Most people are quick to stop you before you get started, but hesitant to get in the way if you’re moving! @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 50. Resources & Programs • Read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries • Take a course • Udemy – The Lean Startup Course • Acumen Lean for Social Impact • Adopt a testing mindset @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 51. Further Reading • The Ultimate Dictionary of Lean for Social Good – leanimpact.org • What would The Lean Startup Look Like for Nonprofits? By Sasha Dichter • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries • Don’t Overthink It by Leah Neaderthal @lepitts #leanimpact
  • 52. Thanks! Leanne Pittsford Co-Founder, Lean Impact www.leanimpact.org Leanne@lesbianswhotech.org @lepitts @lepitts #leanimpact