Steering Team

Lean Research is jointly organized by faculty and researchers at the D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyThe Fletcher School of Law and DiplomacyRoot Capital, and the Feinstein International Center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. You can read the bios for members of the Steering Team below. To get in touch with us, please use the Contact page.

Elizabeth Hoffecker

Elizabeth leads the research program of the International Development Innovation Network, a consortium of university and community-based partners headquartered at MIT’s D-Lab.  As part of this program, she heads a research group at D-Lab on Local Innovation and Development and teaches a graduate social science research methods course, D-Lab Field Research: Understanding Development Impact.

When asked by Kim Wilson in the Spring of 2014 if she would be interested in co-developing Lean Research as an approach and initiative, she enthusiastically agreed; she had already experienced the urgent need for change in terms of how research is conducted in communities that have been targeted for development interventions and found the opportunity to participate in developing a practical alternative compelling.

Kendra Leith

Kendra is the evaluation manager for MIT D-Lab and a member of the steering team for the Lean Research Initiative. She oversees and implements the monitoring and evaluation and user and market research activities for the Scale-Ups program and Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation at MIT. She has done fieldwork in Morocco, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and India. Prior to joining the D-Lab team as a staff member in 2011, she worked at the Institute for International Urban Development. She graduated from MIT with a master’s degree in City Planning in 2009.

Kendra first became involved in the Lean Research Initiative in 2014. She was excited about the possibility of making the research process more enjoyable and less burdensome for the participants and making the results more relevant and useful for the subjects and other decision-makers.

Kim Wilson

Kim is a co-founder of Lean Research. The idea of collecting accurate information crucial to good decisions in a way that left human subjects feeling great about their contributions seemed too good to resist, and thus in concert with dedicated colleagues at MIT and Tufts, she ushered Lean Research into the world.

While not obsessing about Lean Research, Kim lectures at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, where she teaches several courses on markets and development. Prior to joining Fletcher, Kim directed the global microfinance operation for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). She then assumed the position of program director for all of CRS programming in South Asia. Based in Calcutta, India, she worked with watershed management, agriculture, education, and microfinance programs throughout India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Kim regularly takes on field assignments for organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, World Bank (CGAP), Bankable Frontier Associates, The MasterCard Foundation, and the Aga Khan Foundation. She is on the Board of the SEEP Network and is an advisor to Linked Foundation, Trickle Up, and Colibri (a solar lamp distribution company in Nicaragua). Kim co-edited the book, Financial Promise for the Poor, How Groups Build Savings (Kumarian Press), and has contributed chapters to other books on the topic of savings. Her most recent initiative in collaboration with MIT’s D-Lab is on “Lean Research.”

At Tufts, Kim is Senior Fellow for the The Council on Emerging Market Enterprises (CEME) | Tufts Fletcher School and a Visiting Fellow for the Feinstein International Center. She won the James L. Paddock For Excellence in Teaching in 2009. She is also Academic Director of the The Fletcher School Leadership Program for Financial Inclusion, a nine-month fellowship funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In October of 2015, she joined the board of The Hitachi Center for International Affairs at Fletcher.

Mike McCreless

Mike oversees Root Capital‘s impact assessment and social & environmental due diligence, and is active in sharing Root Capital’s learning via writing and industry groups. He also facilitates long-term and annual strategic planning and organizational development. He previously consulted for Monitor Company and conducted research for Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter. Mike holds an M.B.A. with distinction and an M.P.A. from Harvard University and a B.A. cum laude from Yale University.

 Mike became interested in Lean Research as an umbrella framework and initiative that is aligned with the spirit of Root Capital’s ‘client-centric’ approach to impact evaluation, yet potentially applicable to a much broader set of actors in international development and social science research.

Rachel Gordon

Rachel Gordon is a Researcher at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. Her research focuses on livelihoods, human security, and ongoing violence during ‘post-conflict’ transitions, the politics of humanitarian action, and gender analysis in complex emergencies. She has also worked on urban violence and disaster risk reduction in cities and risk and crisis management for international education and development organization. Rachel holds dual Master’s degrees from The Fletcher School and the department of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning at Tufts University, with a focus on urban resilience and human security.

Rachel became interested in Lean Research out of concerns about the politics and power imbalances in international research and development work, borne of her work in grassroots development with small NGOs and CBOs in Latin America, and is thrilled to part of an initiative to address such challenges.

Roxanne Krystalli

Roxanne Krystalli is the Humanitarian Evidence Program Manager at Feinstein International Center. She has worked as a researcher and practitioner at the intersection of gender and armed conflict, with a particular focus on understanding the needs of victims of violence and the experiences of former combatants. She has collaborated with various UN agencies and international organizations, including the UN Bureau of Crisis Response and Prevention, UNDP, UN Women, UNICEF, IOM, and the Norwegian Refugee Council. Roxanne has worked with community-based groups in Egypt, Pakistan, Uganda, Sudan, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, and other areas. It was this work with vulnerable populations affected by violence that prompted Roxanne to join her Lean Research colleagues in developing a more rigorous, relevant, respectful, and right-sized approach to human-centered research.

For her work, Roxanne has been recognized as a P.E.O. International Peace Scholar, Ogunte Featured Social Innovator, TEDx speaker, and as a recipient of the Presidential Award for Citizenship and Service at Tufts University. Roxanne holds a BA from Harvard College, an MA from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and is pursuing a PhD at The Fletcher School on the politics of victimhood during transitions from violence. You can follow her on Twitter, as well as on her personal blog.