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Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good
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Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  173 ratings  ·  22 reviews
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
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Wiley
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Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to help do good. I’m sure that you want to see your contributions do the most good possible.

"At the end of 2016, over 65 million people were displaced from their homes due to conflict or persecution, the most since the Second World War. The number and intensity of climate‐related natural disasters has risen. And in 2015, the Ebola epidemic reminded us of how rapidly a dangerous virus can spread around the world."

Truth be told: I am a management system geek and a sustainability nerd. I hav
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly repetitive and US-focused, but still a useful framework for social innovation entrepreneurs and funders that seek to maximize real-world impact.

Throughout the book, the author demonstrates how prevalent funding mechanisms stifle innovation, risk-taking, and consequently the impact of mission-driven organizations. Instead of the forced waterfall approach imposed by grants, we need a mindset shift, along with hybrid funding mechanisms and legal entities that will allow organizations to "
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: csr
As a corporate funder, I think a lot about how to be a better funder. This sums up the book for me:

“To test out promising innovations, collect and analyze the data, and let businesses and governments scale up and sustain what works. We’re like an incubator in that way. We aim to improve the quality of the ideas that go into public policies and to steer funding towards those ideas that have the most impact. If we don’t try some ideas that fail, we’re not doing our jobs”
~ Bill and Melinda Gates
Anish Malpani
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lot of this I had read / studied before but Ann does a great job bringing it all together, especially with her examples. I have a signed copy and this might actually become my Bible. Before reading it, I thought as much.

Ann Mei does an extremely efficient job in combining the incredible principles of Eric Reiss' Lean Startup with the struggles of the social impact space - lack of resources, dependence on donors, ancient methods of up-front project planning. She is a proper champion of using en
Shannon Clark
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Even if you are not working at or investing/donating to impact driven organizations (whether non-profit or for-profit or government run or another form of organization) this is among the best business books I have read in recent years - and one that I will be recommending to clients, partners and friends (and strangers). If Lean Startup and follow up books are the Lean 101 courses, this is the 400+ level course - on how to apply Lean Startup principles and practices to organizations facing the c ...more
This book was alright. There were definitely some useful ideas, though it was a bit repetitive. I sort of find that to be common among books in this genre though, which also often seem to have grandiose promises about offering brand new ideas. Main ideas in this book were to think big and to iterate and fail early in testing ideas, which are solid ideas (but also well-known ideas). The writing was decent. It’s not my favorite genre in general (I read it for a book club), so my review should prob ...more
Janet Cobb
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dug into the weeds a bit more than I anticipated - I picked it up with enthusiasm and set it aside for quite some time. I appreciate the point and would love to see funding for nonprofits mirror the for-profit sector a bit more as far as allowing and encouraging innovation, but it feels like too much of a wish. Hopefully, I'm wrong. I do recommend for anyone with the energy to think big about how to really solve the world's social issues. ...more
Vinay Mehta
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Few business/industry books will make you read through the chapters and hold down to take notes on key messages, all the while continuing to add more content and reasoning behind your learnings. Even though am not purely among the intended readers' list for the book, the concepts and the ask is crisp, succint and doesn't oversell the obvious. I learnt a lot of things to apply for better business and lean thinking in my work as well. ...more
Ian Khan
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Quite simply a must read for those in the social impact and social impact measurement space. This is a manifesto for those to start re-thinking of how social good is done and measured. What is the major changed we want to see in the world? What is the problem we are trying to solve? How do we measure success? How can we articulate this in a theory of change. I can't recommend this book enough. I hope Ann-Mei Chang continues to write and provide though leadership in a social impact environment th ...more
Nuno Gomes
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great book that sat on my bookshelve for too long. Great use of the Lean Startup concepts, with very interesting hints for funders, social entrepreneurs, business communities and the society at large. Although quite uS centric, it goves several examples from across the world.
Great inspiration for those, who like me, start being increasingly involved with social impact and foundations.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must for anyone who is interested in or already working in the social impact space. Ann Mei Chang explains innovation principles in social impact contexts by using case studies from Organisations all over the world to show examples of how to go about implementing her suggestions. She also writes in a practical, accessible way.
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think this book would complement a development class very well! It reinforces the importance of questioning assumptions, and I would say that my favorite sections of the book were in the beginning. The second half focuses more on funding (versus process). A great book for getting some perspective on innovation in social good.
Michael Zhou
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
Good info and solid stories

Pretty solid ideas and concepts to stand behind. Got a very interesting glimpse into the realm of social enterprises and the good they are trying to do and the way they go about it. Would recommend if interested in the social sector.
Philippe Bailleur
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lean Start-Up for Forces’for Good

What is possible when the best of non-profit and profit companies is coming together? In this way Forces for Good emerge and that is what we need today on a global scale.
Kathy Heare Watts
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.
Nancy Brown
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good, very good. I respect Anne Mei Chang, her experiences and perspective. I am frustrated by the pokey, out of date processes and bureaucracy too...but I wonder if we shouldn't respect global health accomplishments, research and evidence-based approaches more - and launch change from there. ...more
Raymond Xu
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This book is far too similar to lean startup. It is advertised as a read for someone who has read lean startup, and yet it rehashes almost all of the same points.
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech, improve, favorites
Incredible read for anyone in the nonprofit space. Significantly changed how i think about making an impact and how i want to work.
Josh Dormont
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Helpful addition to the Lean series although much of the content exists in other books.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: project-change
Having read Lean Startup there is a bit of repetition, which makes it a bit boring, but in general the concepts and stories to back them up are great.
Kaveh A
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Takes the best from Lean Startup, but with appropriate nonprofit modifications. Most relevant for nonprofits/social enterprises interested in rapid growth.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting read however it emulates existing innovation material.
Stephen Harvey
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Apr 09, 2020
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Abhilash  Jacob Philip
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Aug 06, 2019
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Rosalia Adisti
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Dec 15, 2018
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May 23, 2019
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ANN MEI CHANG is a leading advocate for social innovation who has worked across the tech industry, nonprofits, and the U.S. government. As Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, she served as the first Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, engaging the best practices for accelerating impact and scale from Silicon Valley for the world's most intractable challenges. Previously, Ann Mei ...more

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57 likes · 14 comments
“Impact is a critically important concept when it comes to social innovation, generally used in the context of measuring whether social interventions do or don’t work. But conceptually, it’s very similar to the problem of measuring success in a business before you have profits. That’s why lean methods are so perfectly suited to this kind of work. The only real difference is that instead of talking about maximizing shareholder value, Lean Impact talks about maximizing social impact. An advance party of pioneers, some of whom you’ll read about here, is already doing this, but we need more. This book is a way to help add to their numbers. Lean Impact is not only transformational for the social sector, though. My hope is that people in other kinds of businesses and organizations will also pick it up and, after reading about the dedicated people and clear strategies whose stories Ann Mei has gathered, think about how the products and institutions they build affect the world. All of us have more to learn about how we make impact so we can move together into this new era. —Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way” 1 likes
“Innovation” may be the most overused buzzword in the world today. As the pace of change continues to accelerate and our challenges grow ever more complex, we know we need to do something different just to keep up, let alone get ahead. Finding better ways to tackle the most pressing problems facing people and the planet is no exception. Over the past few years, the notion of innovation for social good has caught on like wildfire, with the term popping up in mission statements, messaging, job descriptions, and initiatives. This quest for social innovation has led to a proliferation of contests, hackathons, and pilots that may make a big splash, but has yielded limited tangible results. So we should start by asking, What is innovation? One unfortunate consequence of the hype has been that, in common parlance, innovation has often become conflated with invention. While invention is the spark of a new idea, innovation is the process of deploying that initial breakthrough to a constructive use. Thomas Edison’s famous quote, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration,” puts this in perspective. In other words, innovation is the long, hard slog that is required to take a promising invention (the 1%) and transform it into, in our case, meaningful social impact.” 0 likes
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