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The Lean Startup Goes To Washington

‘More and more, the government sector is working to improve the quality of information—or evidence—it is using to formulate decisions and policy. This is what we call evidence-based policy.’ In a recent article by Jonathan Greenblatt & Scott Hartley in the Standard Social Innovation Review, they highlight how the US Government is adopting the ‘Lean Start Up philosophy’  and applying a highly data centric view to policy and grant making.


The views highlighted in the article show great progress in the world of philanthropic giving based on data and impact. Through lessons from the corporate world and start up culture, ‘it’s not the government “doing venture capital,” but it’s improving federal grantmaking by adopting the methodologies of risk mitigation and Lean Start Up philosophy‘.

‘By understanding what programs can best achieve results, government can help scale those interventions through public-private partnerships.’ The methodology here is to embrace data as means of evaluation, tracking progress, and establishing where best to invest, for the greatest possible social impact. Just as venture capitalists would do for financial returns in backing new start ups. The key result of this will be ‘material improvement in the effectiveness of funded programs and a decreased probability that a failing program will continue to get government funding over time’.

Here at Markets For Good we think that adopting well thought out philosophies from other industries is extremely good practice. The fact that the US Government is utilising data to increase their impact in grant making will not only encourage charities to be more data focused, but will greatly enhance the overall data environment and culture, which we are all seeking to build.



Please follow the article’s authors, Jonathan Greenblatt & Scott Hartley to stay up to date on their activities, and of course, the SSIR for further valuable industry news.