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 Eric Ries’ bestseller The Lean Startup that have fueled technology breakthroughs touching every aspect of our lives, Anne Mei Chang’s Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good (Wiley) 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.
In Lean Impact, an essential guide to maximizing social impact and scale, Chang offers bold ideas to reach audacious goals through customer insight, rapid experimentation and iteration and a relentless pursuit of impact.
The author brings a unique perspective across sectors, from her years as a tech executive in Silicon Valley to her most recent experience as the Chief Innovation Officer at USAID. Her book is flooded with real stories from interviews with over 200 organizations across the U.S. and around the world.
She writes, “When a friend or charity asks you to donate to a cause, what is the pitch you typically hear? Perhaps a story about children who are suffering and need your help, or a terrible injustice that has to be set right? The organization is committed to addressing this devastating issue, so you dig deep into your pockets and give. The world praises both you and the charity for doing good. But, this is only the first step.”
Chang continues, “We should rightfully celebrate the commitment of mission-driven nonprofits, the generosity of philanthropists, and the sacrifices of dedicated staff and volunteers. And, we should applaud the social enterprises, impact investors, and triple bottom line companies who meld profit with purpose.
“But we can’t stop there. Results matter. We have a responsibility to deliver the most we possibly can, both for those who need our assistance and for those who entrust us with their time or money. True impact comes from engaging with both our hearts and our heads.”
Lean Impact takes an uncompromising attitude toward maximizing social good. At its core, says Chang, are the basic tenets of the scientific method – hypothesis‐driven experiments that reduce risk and increase the pace of learning. She says that by applying these techniques to validate perceived customer value, an engine for growth, and the ensuing societal benefit of our interventions, we can achieve greater impact at greater scale.
Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good is now available for purchase.
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ABOUT ANN MEI CHANG:
Ann Mei Chang is a leading advocate for social innovation. As Chief Innovation Officer at USAID, Ann Mei served as the first Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, engaging the best practices for innovation from Silicon Valley to accelerate the impact and scale of solutions to the world’s most intractable challenges. She was previously the Chief Innovation Officer at Mercy Corps and served the U.S. Department of State as Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues. Prior to her pivot to the public and social sector, Ann Mei was a seasoned technology executive, with more than 20 years’ experience at such leading companies as Google, Apple, and Intuit, as well as at a range of startups.