How to apply Lean Start-up Principles for Impact at #SOCAP13

IMG_4815-1This morning’s session on lean impact brought together a panel that shared insights on how they’ve applied lean start-up principles to create social impact.

Chase Adam of Watsi pointed out that whereas Y combinator (and other for-profit investment vehicles) can easily gauge success and failure through profit measurement, social investments risk converging around mediocrity because of a lack of clear measures. We need to find ways to compare diverse social impacts that is as close to objective as possible.

Megan Kashner of Benevolent told a great story about providing direct social services. They had a great model and were trying to engage the clients, but everyone was sitting as far away from the Social Workers as possible in the room. She put nail polish on the table in the center and – volla! The woman came closer, and the relationships began to strengthen.

Christie George of New Media Ventures reminded everyone to be really honest about the assumptions you are making, careful about vanity metrics and recognize that solving problems may lead to making yourself obsolete.

Thanks for such an insightful panel!


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