Browsing Category : What We’re Reading

What We’re Reading: Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking


New Profit‘s Founder & CEO, Vanessa Kirsch, and Board Chairman, Jeff Walker, published a piece in Harvard Business Review entitled “Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking” over the summer. With co-author Jim Bildner of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, they coin the term “systems entrepreneurs” to characterize a critical element of New Profit’s evolved approach and the future of social problem…

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What We’re Reading: Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People


At 356 pages of fairly dense writing, you’d hardly call it a page turner. But if you’re a global development practitioner, you might have hard time putting it down. Getting to Scale: How to Bring Development Solutions to Millions of Poor People looks at the hard truths of how few development solutions go to scale and provides the most in-depth analysis…

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What’s the “poison pill” that prevents pilots from going to scale?


What’s the “poison pill” that prevents pilots from going to scale? According to scaling expert Larry Cooley, it’s complexity. We’ve been thinking a lot about how to reduce complexity in order to achieve scale. In fact, “How do we reduce cost and complexity?” is key design question #4 that we explore in our Designing for Scale lab in the accelerator.…

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What We’re Reading: Scaling Up Excellence


Another book that helped us think about design question #3 – “What is the optimal fidelity for scale?” – is Scaling Up Excellence, by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao. “The first major business book devoted to this universal and vexing challenge” – Amazon The authors walk us through decades of case studies on how various companies and initiatives found the…

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What We’re Reading: “The Doer and the Payer”


Development projects often have an end goal of perhaps being picked up by the local government. Or, perhaps the goal is for activities to be sustained by the local community. Historically, much of our focus was placed on sustaining the results of a particular project, but not necessarily the scalability of our work. So two simple but often unasked questions,…

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