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Lean Startup Principles for Social Impact

Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer, Acumen
A free course from Acumen
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The Course

Lean Startup Principles for Social Impact is an 4-week course inspired by the Lean Launchpad Class pioneered by Steve Blank. In this course you will learn how to test, validate, and adapt your vision of change to ensure you're creating the greatest impact and investing your time in something that truly meets your stakeholder's and customer's needs.

About the course

This course is appropriate for anyone who wants to try out lean methodologies to start a new enterprise or building a new program or initiative within an existing organization. The lean approach relies on validated learning, experimentation, and iterative product releases to shorten product development cycles, measure progress, and gain valuable customer feedback. In an environment where the majority of startups fail, lean principles aim to give startups a better chance of success by helping entrepreneurs learn more quickly what works and discard what doesn't.

This course draws on the latest thinking in Silicon Valley, but adapts it for the social sector. We'll showcase examples of social enterprises and organizations that have successfully run experiments, pivoted, and remained lean and innovative while ethically serving their customers and prioritizing social impact. These principles aren't just for high tech startups but tools for any innovator, especially those determined to solve the world's toughest social problems.

What you'll learn:

By the conclusion of this course you will:

  • Practice the build-measure-learn approach that characterizes lean methodology
  • Have a clear understanding of your value proposition
  • Tested your hypotheses with some of your key customers and developed a minimum viable product
  • Run an experiment & decided whether to pivot or persevere with your idea
  • Develop a "lean mindset" for tackling problems of poverty that can be applied to other settings in the corporate, public, and NGO sectors

You'll love this course if:

  • You're an aspiring or very early stage social entrepreneur/founding team member that is building an impact enterprise to tackle a specific issue of poverty in your local community
  • You're looking to learn the lean mindset to drive a social change initiative in a larger organization (For example, you could be an employee within an established business, public sector organization or non-profit)
  • You just completed the Human-Centered Design for Social Innovation course and are ready to take your project to the next level

How this course works:

This is a practical but intensive class where you will learn by doing. In this course you will:

  • Be expected to come with an idea for a new model to solve a problem of poverty
  • Work in teams learning how to take your idea and assess its potential .

We highly recommend you form a team of 3-4 people, preferably located in the same place. You may enter the course with a team or find a team using the course platform once the course starts.

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