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Mini Trio Cuadrados 9k yellow gold necklace with diamond pendant Aliita Jgc3iJy
Mini Trio Cuadrados 9k yellow gold necklace with diamond pendant Aliita
/ Industries / Telecommunications

The lean model reinvents the traditional strategic planning process. In effect, it offers a new adage to follow: “Plan your tests and test your plans.” Lean practitioners don’t enumerate the precise tactics that they will use because they don’t know in advance which ones will be successful. Instead, they run many small tests and adjust their efforts after discovering what works (and what doesn’t work). Done well, lean helps organizations innovate more efficiently, build new services that meet the needs of their constituents, and develop disruptive solutions to seemingly intractable problems. Lean can be particularly effective as a means of testing and validating revenue models that have the potential to create sustainable, long-term funding streams.

The adoption of rapid experimentation has been slower in the social sector than in the business sector (for reasons that we will explore below). Yet there are a growing number of nonprofits that use lean to support innovation in education, health care, international development, and other fields within the social sector.

To understand the lean method—and its applicability to the nonprofit sector—it helps to understand its origins in the for-profit sector. Part of a broad revolution in the business world, lean belongs to a set of innovation and process improvement methods that also includes Six Sigma, which managers at Motorola developed to enable error reduction; Agile , a flexible and iterative approach to software development; and Human-Centered Design , a solution-building process created by leaders at the design firm .

Lean has two distinct strains: “lean production” (also known as “lean manufacturing”), a structured method first developed by Toyota more than 25 years ago that applies to complex processes like manufacturing, logistics, and health services; and “lean startup,” a set of principles and practices developed in Silicon Valley over the past decade that help entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs launch new products and services. 1 Think of lean production as a way to maximize the efficiency and impact of a good idea, and think of lean startup as a way to figure out whether an idea is worth pursuing in the first place. Although the two strains developed separately and have distinct processes, they share a commitment to identifying clear hypotheses, conducting rapid experiments, and developing new product or service models in response to experimental data.

Over the past decade, several developments—increasing global competition, accelerated technological change, the emergence of big data—have forced nearly every major company to adopt data-driven, rapid experimentation methods in most aspects of their operations. Today, when you buy a pair of stretch pants at HM or download a new iPhone app or make a purchase from Amazon or click a link on Facebook, you are generating data for a series of experiments that will inform how companies make their next strategic decision. Companies that have incorporated rapid experimentation into their operations range from large corporations like General Electric, Target, 3M, and Xerox to high-growth start-ups like Dropbox, Etsy, and Upworthy.

Despite this, our standards for human testing are incredibly lax. Anyone can get a driver’s license, and the majority of the United States population either drives or rides in a car on a regular basis—even though your odds of dying in a car accident over a lifetime are something like 1 in 114 , which is relatively high. Autonomous vehicles may actually already be capable of transporting us more safely than comparable human drivers.

Injuries and deaths are an unfortunately expectable part of any process that ultimately leads to greater safety. As the proverb goes, “you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

Let’s take another driving-related safety feature as an example here: airbags. The first airbags started emerging in the 1960s after an initial patent was filed in 1952. Designed to improve safety and reduce the risk of fatality in the case of collision, these airbags were vastly inferior to the airbags we know today and were responsible for many injuries (and even some deaths). Even today, over the past 10 years, there have been almost 200 fatal injuries as a result of airbag deployment.

However, it’s estimated that airbags have saved Sheer Wrap Cities Wrap 1 by VIDA VIDA jJn1Cy
. With every technological advancement in the airbag space, we save more lives and produce fewer injuries, and few people would argue that the airbag has been a “bad” or harmful innovation. The ideal scenario here is one in which nobody is killed, but since that’s extremely unlikely, I’ll assume most people agree that saving 44,800 lives is better than saving 200.

Early iterations of the autonomous vehicle may result in some loss of life, but even our most underdeveloped models will most likely be an improvement over a human driver’s ability.

Despite the numbers, many consumers and policymakers still want to push for higher standards for self-driving vehicles. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for example, believes autonomous vehicles need to be twice as safe as human drivers Mens Not Coordinated Beret Guess eWOxrsDw
. However, the opportunity cost of waiting that long means we’ll spend years without any improvement whatsoever; we’ll keep losing 40,000 annual lives instead of 35,000 or 30,000 or 25,000.

RAND Corp confirms some of this speculation , investigating the real opportunity cost of waiting to deploy autonomous vehicles until they’re 75 to 90 percent better than human drivers. In nearly all test conditions, a more permissive, flexible policy results in saving more lives than their more conservative counterparts — and in the long term, could save more than half a million lives.

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