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Next Billion features Lean Research

2. women in Ahmedabad participate in water mapping excercise as part of MIT water filter study.jpg_large

Women from Ahmedabad, India participate in a water mapping exercise as part of an MIT evaluation of water test kits. Photo credit: MIT Comprehensive Initiative on Technology

In February and March 2016, the Lean Research team is excited to share a series of reflections on the Next Billion portal. Next Billion is a community of business leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGO managers, policy makers, academics and others exploring the connection between development and enterprise. It is an initiative of the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

Below, you can see a glimpse into our first post, co-authored by Kendra Leith and Elizabeth Hoffecker, introducing the Lean Research approach. You can read the full post here, directly on the Next Billion site.

The second post in this series, co-authored by Kim Wilson and Roxanne Krystalli, discusses how to make informed consent a more meaningful process for research participants, as well as explores the applications of Lean Research in vulnerable settings.


As researchers in international development, we often hear colleagues describe 100- to 200-question surveys that take hours to administer. We have heard many stories in which a boss or donor says, “While we have the farmers in the room, why not ask a few more questions? We might use that data in the future.” We’ve also seen plenty of rigorous studies produce results that sit on the proverbial shelf and we’ve heard communities ask, “Why do you keep asking us the same questions every year, and what have you done with the data?”

These stories and others led us to begin reimagining the research process. What if research participants enjoyed the experience and found it valuable? What if we asked questions that were relevant to participants? What if the data were actually used to make decisions? And what if we reduced the burden and waste in the research process?

To read the rest of  this post, visit Next Billion. To read the second post in this series, visit this page.

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