Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity: Applying the Lean Startup Methodology to Build a Financially Sustainable Anchor Collaborative
Keywords:strategic planning, local purchasing, collective impact, best practices, case study
As poverty and inequality continue to plague American cities, universities and hospitals are looking for ways to leverage their role as community anchors to address these issues. Local procurement programs have emerged as one way for institutions to build local wealth and create jobs. In order to increase the impact of individual institutions, many cities are creating place-based collaboratives to amplify the impact of individual anchors. However, because collaboratives focus on systems-level change, which can take many years to achieve, they frequently struggle to raise and sustain necessary levels of funding. This article outlines how the principles of a Lean Startup methodology, an approach that focuses on gradual growth using validated learning, can be utilized to build financially sustainable anchor collaboratives and identify the most effective strategies for local purchasing. The article provides an overview the Philadelphia local purchasing landscape, defines the Lean Startup methodology and looks at the application of the methodology through the lens of Philadelphia’s local purchasing collaborative, Philadelphia Anchors for Growth and Equity at the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia. The goal of this article is to share a strategic planning framework that could be useful in creating effective local purchasing collaboratives.