Learn How To

Run experiments, pivot and remain lean and innovative while ethically serving customers and prioritizing social impact

Use the value proposition canvas to map out your customers’ pains, gains, and jobs to be done

Create and test hypotheses to refine the value proposition of your social enterprise or initiative

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Course Syllabus

Learning Tools

4 reading guides highlighting case studies and examples

4 workshop guides to help you apply lean methods to your own projects

Instructional videos from Sasha Dichter, Acumen’s former Chief Innovation Officer, now Co-founder of 60 Decibels, and Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad Course

Section 1: What Are Lean Startup Principles?

Video: Introduction to the Course from Sasha Dichter, Acumen’s former Chief Innovation Officer, now Co-founder of 60 Decibels

Video: What is the Lean Mindset?

Reading: Avoiding Wasted Time and Wasted Effort

Reading: What are Lean Startup Principles?

Reading: The Build-Measure-Learn Loop

Reading: What Lean Does Differently

Reading: Lean Principles for the Social Sector

Reading: What Lean Startup is NOT

Reflection: Check Your Understanding of Lean Principles

Activity: Developing Your Value Proposition

Activity: Uncovering Business and Impact Assumptions

Activity: Assumptions Grid

Activity: Hypothesis Generation

Section 2: Customer Discovery

Video: An Overview of Customer Discovery from Steve Blank

Reading: Discovering Your Customers

Reading: 4 Stages of Customer Development

Reading: An Acumen Example from Pakistan

Reading: Getting Out of the Building

Reading: 10 Tips for Talking to Customers

Case Study: Watsi

Case Study: Frontier Markets

Activity: Identify Your Target Customers and Stakeholders

Activity: Build an Interview Guide

Activity: Conduct Your Customer Interviews

Section 3: Designing Minimum Viable Products and Lean Experiments

Video: Introduction to Minimum Viable Products from Steve Blank

Video: Pains, Gains, and the MVP

Video: Testing Hypotheses

Reading: Types of Minimum Viable Products

Case Study: Saral Designs

Case Study: Markhor

Case Study: Fasal

Case Study: Kidogo

Reading: How is an MVP different from a pilot program?

Reading: Key Elements of Testing with Customers

Reading: Moving from MVPs to Experiments

Reading: 3 Types of Experiments to Try

Reading: Avoid Vanity Metrics

Reading: The Ethics of Experiments

Reading: 3 Best Practices for Ethical Experiments

Activity: Experiment Grid

Activity: Minimum Viable Product Design

Activity: Run an Experiment

Section 4: To Pivot or Persevere?

Video: What’s a Pivot?

Video: Final Advice from Sasha Dichter, Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer

Reading: Making Sense of What You Learn from Experiments

Reading: To Pivot or Persevere?

Case Study: Linkage

Activity: Methods to Synthesize

Activity: Update Your Value Proposition Canvas

Resources: Further Reading

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Draw inspiration from thought-provoking readings, videos, and reflections.

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Receive a certificate of recognition

Attain a “Statement of Accomplishment” recognizing your successful completion of a course.

"The lean startup course was a game-changer for us. It challenged our thinking, got us to approach the problem in new ways and gave us confidence to take our idea and put it into action."


Course Description

You will learn how to use lean methodologies to test, validate, and adapt while building a new social enterprise or new offering 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.

These principles can be used by any innovator, especially those determined to solve the world’s toughest social problems, to create the greatest impact and better meet the needs of customers.

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