Lean Startup for Social Enterprise

The Spring Roundtable on Lean Startup for Social Enterprise took place on Wednesday, June 8 2016.

Lindsay Siegel (SOM 11), Executive Director of the Zahn Innovation Center at the City College of New York, and Matt Kelley, Creative Director at Blue State Digital (and Lindsay’s husband), led a session for YANA on Lean Nonprofit Startup.

Daniel C. Shaughnessy, Senior Wealth Director, BNY Mellon Wealth Management,  arranged our convenient and impressive meeting space. Michael A. Janko, Director, Endowment and Foundation Group, kicked off the meeting by presenting on Collaboration: Thoughts on the Investment Committee/Manager Relationship.

Lindsay and Matt’s excellent presentation and interactive exercises, helped us discover how the Lean Startup methodology can effectively inform the management and growth of high impact nonprofits and social enterprises. Lessons from the tech startup world illuminated how to improve and grow our nonprofit or social enterprises.

After an overview of Lean Startup theory, our facilitators led a hands-on workshop. We worked and played to uncover and apply practical tips to help us innovate through rapid prototyping and iteration.

Click for Lindsay and Matt’s presentation,

Key takeaways from the participants included:

  • GOOB! Get out of the building!
    Don’t wait to engage your potential target audience/market to find out whether there really is the perceived demand for your idea…and whether some tweaks they might offer would make it even more attractive. Not only will you start to get a crucial early sense of the viability of your plan, but you will build a community of support.
  • The importance of startup nonprofits to not only develop a hypothesis but test it through the business canvas lens
  • Distinguish between the metrics that might be easy to capture and make an organization look good, I.e. “vanity measures” & those that really convey degree if progress towards achieving an outcome. Process measures such as #of service recipients served are nice, but doesn’t get to impact on their lives.