When Lean Startup Arrives in a Trojan Horse-Innovation in Extreme Bureaucracy


Steven Hodas from New York City Department of Education.

Changing policy doesn’t change how an organisation works. Bureaucracy don’t change orgnanically. So when they try to save problems they look complicated (NYCDOE procurement). Meanwhile many orgs are using entropy to bring about change.

Without a culture of change how do you innovate?

In NY we created Innovate NYC schools  - use an MVP type to model new ways of working. We work with schools, teachers, students and find what problems they have and then crowdsource solutions.


Gap App challenge. Used it to look at the procurement problem and come up with solutions. Challenge to create apps that helped maths teaching. Developers invited into schools to wok with teachers and students to refine this product.

Directory of NYC High Schools to help parents choose schools. Six apps were created  that are free to parents to use. #SCDCNYC

Chancellor’s challenge – products about what people wanted to improve eg absenteeism, bus routes etc. All in development changes.

What has innovate validated?

- Lean works for process not just product

- user centricity hones focus, expands horizons

- Possible to introduce entropy

TIP for within Bureaucracy: Vanity metrics are ok, they are not for you, they are for the people you are keeping happy that you need support of to introduce change.



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