Lean Data Approaches to Measure Social Impact

Use low-cost technology to gain high-quality data and insights from your customers

Course Details

  • Price: FREE
  • Start Date: Oct 10, 2017
  • Time: 3 hours/week
  • Duration: 5 weeks
  • Partner: Acumen Lean Data Team

What You’ll Learn:

  • Identify the shortcomings of the traditional "monitoring and evaluation" mindset
  • Understand Acumen's Lean Data framework for impact measurement
  • Define the data collection opportunities in your customer journey
  • Create a streamlined survey to understand why your product, service or program is meaningful to customers
  • Identify an appropriate technology to rapidly collect data
  • Run a Lean Data sprint within your own company or organization
  • Practice presenting lean data along with insights and recommendations


Data doesn’t have to be daunting, and learning how to collect new insights to make better decisions is the catalyst for creating change.

In this three-module course, you’ll learn Acumen’s Lean Data approach to measuring social impact, and discuss case studies from companies that have used Lean Data to gain new insights to refine their value proposition. Then you’ll select your own data collection tool, build a streamlined survey, and run a live demo with customers.

From survey templates used by Acumen to step-by-step guides on organizing data, you’ll end the course by building basic data dashboards and creating an action plan to run your own Lean Data sprint.


Project-Based Course

Course Syllabus

PDF icon Download (131.78 KB)
  • 3 reading guides highlighting case studies and examples
  • 3 workshop guides to structure the development of your own Lean Data approach
  • Video tutorials from mobile survey providers
Section 1: The Lean Data Mindset
  • Video: Lean Data Overview
  • Video: Introduction to Lean Data from Sasha Dichter, Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer
  • Reading: What is Lean Data?
  • Reading: Putting Lean Data in the Context of Other Social Impact Strategies
  • Reading: The Lean Data Roadmap
  • Reading: Why We Need Lean Data
  • Reading: Problems with the Monitoring and Evaluation Mindset
  • Reading: Creating Cultures of Data Humanism
  • Reading: Understanding the Social Enterprise Context
  • Reading: The BUILD approach
  • Case Study: Edubridge
  • Case Study: Ziqitza Healthcare
  • Case Study: Devergy
  • Case Study: SolarNow
  • Activity: The 5Ps of Data Collection
  • Activity: Customer Promise Worksheet
  • Activity: Priority Scorecard
  • Activity: Customer Storyboard
Section 2: Lean Data Tools
  • Reading: The Nuts and Bolts of Lean Data Collection
  • Reading: Design Your Survey
  • Reading: Choose Your Mobile Tool
  • Reading: Gather Mobile Numbers
  • Reading: Gather Mobile Numbers
  • Reading: Prepare for Implementation
  • Reading: Survey and Back-Check
  • Activity: Quick Quiz
  • Resource: Survey Templates
  • Activity: Craft Your Survey
  • Resource: Survey Method Matrix
  • Activity: Program Your Survey
  • Video: Getting Started with the Magpi Platform
  • Video: Getting Started with EngageSpark
Section 3: Lean Data Decisions
  • Reading: Making Decisions Based on Data
  • Case Study: Solar Now
  • Reading: Fitting Lean Data into Building a Lean Startup
  • Activity: Quick Quiz
  • Activity: Pattern Spotting in Your Data
  • Activity: Build a Dashboard or Scorecard
  • Reading: Get Started with Data Visualization
  • Activity: Lean Data Action Plan

Course Partners

Sasha Dichter is Acumen’s Chief Innovation Officer. In this capacity, he oversees Acumen’s work in Leadership and the spread of ideas. Sasha is also a noted speaker and blogger on generosity, philanthropy and social change.

Tom Adams is Director of Impact for Acumen. He heads the organization’s work to understand social performance through patient capital investing. Prior to Acumen Tom worked for the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

What People Are Saying

Emma Lalley, New Story’s Global Impact Manager

“The course was incredibly helpful. It was also a great platform for meeting people from non-profits and social enterprises working on similar challenges.”

Emma Lalley, New Story’s Global Impact Manager