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Dean Karlan, Professor at Northwestern
Episode 168th February 2021 • Startups for Good • Miles Lasater
00:00:00 00:44:22

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Dean Karlan is the Frederic Esser Nemmers Distinguished Professor of Economics and Finance Kellogg School of Management, and co-director of the Global Poverty Research Lab at Northwestern University.  He is the Founder and President of Innovations for Poverty Action, a non-profit organization dedicated to discovering and promoting solutions to global poverty problems, and working to scale-up successful ideas through implementation and dissemination to policymakers, practitioners, investors and donors.  His research focuses on development and behavioral economics, and he is on the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Jameel Poverty Action Lab.  

Dean joins me today to discuss his academic career and why he decided to be a founder. There appears to be a theme with Dean’s academic work and we discuss how that influences the companies that he has founded. We discuss the frustration that comes when the evidence that you are generating are not changing policy. We also talk about his other startups Stickk and ImpactMatters. 

“Know what problem you're trying to solve”… “as clear as you can in your mind, so that you are able to focus on thinking through whether what you're doing is really addressing that problem.” - Dean Karlan

Today on Startups for Good we cover:

  • How IPA (Innovations for Poverty Action) works
  • Randomized Controlled Trials - the needs and criticism that comes with them
  • The size and scale of IPA today and some of the challenges they have faced
  • Methodology of a lean startup and did he use it for IPA
  • The acquisition of ImpactMatters  by Charity Navigator 
  • How to measure impact of a charity
  • Lessons learned from being a founder


Connect with Professor Karlan on LinkedIn or Twitter


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