Andrew Means

Andrew Means is Head of the Beyond.Uptake Foundation and Co-Founder of The Impact Lab. He has previously held leadership positions at The University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science & Public Policy, Groupon, and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. He holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago. Andrew is a member of the Digital Impact Leadership Council and member of the Board of Directors at Ingenuity Inc.

Posts by Andrew Means

Reflections: Data on Purpose / Do Good Data

On a rainy morning in February, 450 of us gathered on Stanford’s campus for the Data on Purpose / Do Good Data conference, hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Digital Civil Society Lab at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. This year we combined two existing conferences – hence the […]

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The missing power of the beneficiary

Have you ever thought about the power you hold in your wallet? Consumers in a capitalist economy, taken collectively, change the world. They drive markets. They push entrepreneurs to innovate. They cause businesses to compete with one another to provide the best experience for customers. When they deliver value to consumers, they flourish. When they fail […]

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This year, give the gift of transparency

It’s that time of the year again. End of year appeals are going out. Annual reports are being drafted. And each of them is going to contain stories—lots and lots of stories. Stories about how powerful our programs are. Stories that show lives being changed. Stories that are meant to compel readers to open up their […]

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Expanding the social impact measurement toolkit

This year, I had the opportunity to participate in both the Impact Convergence (ImpCon) and American Evaluation Association (AEA) conferences, two innovative forums for individuals helping social institutions measure and improve their impact. The Impact Convergence conference focused on the impact measurement and impact investing community, while the AEA conference focused on the community of […]

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Does legal status matter?

Mark Zuckerberg’s choice to use the legal structure of an LLC for his philanthropic endeavors has been making headlines for the last several months. When he sold $95m worth of his shares in June the storm started again with Wired saying “He’s No Hero Yet” and The Chronicle of Philanthropy asking whether John D. Rockefeller […]

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Overhead is not the issue

I need to get this off my chest. I am sick and tired of hearing about overhead. I don’t even mean in the overhead-ratio police kind of way. I mean at all. It is an irrelevant metric. It is a complete and utter distraction from the measurements that really matter. I’ll go one step further. […]

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Better is Good Enough: Putting Imperfect Data to Good Use

Math is nice isn’t it? That feeling of getting the right answer. 1 + 1 = 2. There is no other answer. It’s so clear. Something is either correct or incorrect. It’s not left open to interpretation. Our first exposure to numbers is usually this kind of simple mathematics. We get used to this clarity […]

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When Algorithms Run the Government

The Impact Lab’s Andrew Means calls for transparency in algorithmic decision-making to ensure proper, equitable practice in service of the public good.

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The Market for Nonprofit Lemons: Andrew Means on Transparency in the Social Market

I’m not going to bury the lede. I think the nonprofit sector has too many ineffectual organizations with too many resources. I think it’s a problem when the quality of impact isn’t correlated with the quantity of dollars donated. But to get us all to my point of frustration we’re going to take a nerdy […]

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Do Good Data: Revolutionizing the Social Sector

  On April 27th, the Chicago Hyatt Regency ballroom began filling up with 900 people from 20 countries and nearly every state. They were gathering for two days of learning, community, and nerdery at the fourth annual Do Good Data conference.   When I started Do Good Data three and a half years ago, I […]

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