The Top 5 Lean Startup Resources for Social Good Organizations | Beth's Blog

The Top 5 Lean Startup Resources for Social Good Organizations



Note from Beth: Two years ago while working on a capacity building project for NGOs funded by the Dept of State in the Middle East,  I found myself in Jordan and visiting colleague Rami Al Karmi’s start up lab.   In his office, he had a stack of Lean Start Up books, authored by Eric Ries.  He told me he makes every start up in his lab read it.   When I got home, I picked up a copy and the ideas resonated with the concepts in the Networked Nonprofit.    I was delighted to discover Leah Neaderthal, Co-Founder, Lean Impact who has done amazing work applying lean start up principles to all aspects of nonprofits.    Her organization is hosting two Lean Impact, one in December in NYC and one in January in San Francisco (I’m a judge for the San Francisco event).

Leah and her team have combed through a lot of resources out there and selected some of the best for us to get up to speed on the topic of “Lean Start Up.”

The Top 5 Lean Startup Resources for Social Good Organizations – Guest Post by By:Leah Neaderthal, Co-Founder, Lean Impact
The Best Comprehensive Lean Startup Course: The Lean Startup Online Course, by Eric Ries

Whether or not you have read Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup, you should definitely check Eric’s The Lean Startup Online Course. In it, Eric introduces you to Lean Startup from the ground up, and shows you how to put the principles into practice. This course has everything – it’s the most Lean Startup educational content you can get in one place. Plus, the course is curated by Ries to only teach you the most important aspects of The Lean Startup book. As a bonus, it also includes a few dozen case studies and some great extra material from Lean Startup conferences.

The Best Book About Putting Lean Into Practice: Running Lean, by Ash Maurya
Obviously, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is the ultimate Bible of Lean. But another great book is Running Lean, by Ash Maurya. Running Lean is The Lean Startup on steroids. Ash’s book expands upon Lean principles with detailed analyses, step-by-step guides, and applicable templates for leaders and entrepreneurs to implement in any business or industry – Yes, even social good organizations. This book with show you how to create and launch products, services or processes with an agile approach that will help your organization grow fast and efficiently.

The Best Quick Videos about Lean for Social Good: Code for America, SamaUSA and Girl Develop It
Some of the best Lean learning comes through the real-life stories from people who are already using Lean principles. At the Lean Impact launch parties we we invited several social good leaders to share how they have used Lean Startup methods in their organizations, including SamaUSA, Code for America and Girl Develop It. You can check out their quick stories, as well as the Lean Impact panel at the SOCAP conference on our Lean Impact YouTube page.
The Best Place to Hear from Tons of Social Good Organizations Using Lean, All In One Place: The Lean for Social Good Summits in New York (Dec 5) and San Francisco (Jan 23)
There are a number of conferences about startups and even The Lean Startup, but The Lean for Social Good Summits are the only conferences dedicated specifically to helping social good organizations learn how to use Lean Startup in a social good context.

The Lean for Social Good Summits bring together 30+ social good organizations using Lean, to share their stories on stage. There will be a funding panel to dive into the question of how to talk to your funder about Lean. And the day after the Summit, there will be a one-day workshop all about Lean and how to use it in your organization.
Our first-ever Lean for Social Good Summits will be held in New York on December 5th and in San Francisco on January 23rd. No matter which one you go to, they’re fantastic events to attend with your boss, colleague, or funder. Tickets are going fast, so reserve your seat today!

Hint: Beth Kanter will be a judge at the Lean for Social Good Summit in San Francisco!

Not in New York or San Francisco? No worries! Even if you can’t come to the live events, you can still sign up for a potential online ticket or online access.

and finally…

Best Quick Introduction to Lean for Social Good: The Ultimate Dictionary of Lean for Social Good
Still not entirely sure about Lean Startup and what it means for your organization? Check out the Ultimate Dictionary of Lean for Social Good! In this helpful guide, you’ll learn all the Lean Startup lingo (MVP… Pivot… Validated Learning… oh my!) along with examples and case studies from the social good world. It’s a comprehensive resource specifically created for world-changing organizations like yours!

We hope you check out some (of all of these!) fantastic Lean Startup resources and begin implementing Lean practices into your own organization. Going Lean is an excellent way to better connect with your constituents, operate efficiently, reduce spending, and cut down on wasted efforts. Join the movement that so many other social good organizations are adopting and go Lean today!

Leah is the Co-Founder of Lean Impact which helps social good organizations use Lean Startup methodologies, and Chief Marketing Officer of Start Somewhere, working with social good organizations to create effective online communications. She is also the co-creator of the popular Tumblr blog, “When You Work At A Nonprofit”. Connect with Leah at @leahtn.


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  1. […] The Top 5 Lean Startup Resources for Social Good Organizations … from Beth: Two years ago while working on a capacity building project for NGOs funded by the Dept of State in the Middle East, I found. […]

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  3. Field Notes says:

    […] “The Top 5 Lean Startup Resources for Social Good Organizations,” by Leah Neaderthal, guest post on Beth Kanter’s blog (November 18, 2013) […]