Scaling Strategy

Here is a high-level plan to help you define your scaling strategy. We do not recommend following each step by rote, but rather using it as a guide to help you define your plan.
Once you have set your goals & created a theory for change (hypothesis):
  1. 1.
    Define what to scale
  2. 2.
    Assess the scalability of your idea
  3. 3.
    Decide which scaling strategy fits best and how
  4. 4.
    Plan for scaling and get ready to deliver

Instructions: Designing a scaling strategy

1) Identify/review the change you want to bring about
  • With your team, review your Theory for Change (hypothesis).
  • Discuss with your team: What is the change we want to bring about? How do we want our world to be different? How will the outputs lead to the outcomes? And how the outcomes will lead to impact?
  • Make any revisions to your Theory for Change, based on what you have learned so far.
  • Try to define the impact target or scope that you want to achieve. What is the extent of the impact you want to have? For example, how many and which groups of people do you want to affect? By what year?
  • Write them out on your worksheet. For example,
    • We want to reduce adult obesity in suburbs by 20% in the next 5 years.
2) Identify thresholds or limits of growth
  • What are some key steps or thresholds that your impact growth will go through? What will slow down or accelerate your growth?
  • Discuss this question with respect to the three factors affecting thresholds, listed here, and write out your ideas on the template.
  • Feel free to go back and forth between answers to this exercise.
    • Operational and resource capacity: Eg. human resources
    • Partner/ supplier capacity: Eg. key stakeholders or suppliers
    • Government policy/ regulation limits: Eg. policy or regulatory change limitations
3) Identify your impact growth pattern
  • How would your impact grow? What would your impact growth pattern look like?
  • The x axis represents time but identify what your y axis represents in terms of extent of change/ impact. In doing so, it might help to ask:
    • Is the y axis the impact achieved?
    • Is the y axis a % of change accomplished?
    • Is the y axis a % of target population reached?
  • Draw it out on your worksheet.
4) Identify scaling strategies
  • With your team, identify what strategies or approaches will help you scale your interventions. What do you need to bring about change?
  • That is, decide which of the following approaches to scaling fits best (or elements of each), and describe what is needed to scale:
    • Scaling Up: Changing policies, rules and laws
    • Scaling Out: Impacting greater numbers of people impacted, through replication and dissemination
    • Scaling Deep: Impacting deep cultural roots, through values, beliefs and relationships.
  • For more concrete or tangible tactics to scaling, you can use the following:
    • Influence and advise: Campaigning, advocacy, consultancy, training
    • Building a delivery network: Membership models, franchising, licensing, collaborating, etc.
    • Form strategic partnerships: Strategic alliances, merging, acquiring or partnering with other organizations or institutions.
    • Grow an organization to deliver: Growing organizational capacity to deliver your product or service.
  • Write them out on your worksheet. Explain why you think this may be your growth pattern.
Designing a Scaling Strategy.pdf
Template - Designing a Scaling Strategy

Instructions: Prototyping your Scaling Strategy

1) Identify Assumptions/Uncertainties Individually, list as many assumptions and uncertainties as you can about the scaling strategies you selected. Share them with your team. Use the first template to help you select whether they are assumptions or uncertainties:
  • That can be easily validated?
  • That are “supported” by outdated data?
  • That are accepted norms or conventions?
  • For which there is some understanding/ studies about it?
  • For which there is little understanding?
Also use the template to identify which of the following your assumption or uncertainty falls under:
  • Pivotal: Critical to understand better
  • Important: Important to understand better
  • Good to know: Not critical or important, but useful for your own knowledge
  • Not sure: You’re not sure on how important it is or not
2) Identify learning goals Before you go ahead with scaling strategy, what are some important things that you feel you need to probe, gain more knowledge about or validate about your scaling strategy? That is, what are your learning goals? List your team’s top 3 learning goals on the second template.
3) Identify your research or prototype plan If these are your learning goals, propose either a research approach or a prototype that can help to reveal data about your learning goals (eg. testing your assumptions). What will help you to satisfy your learning goal? Write out your ideas (either a research idea or a prototype idea) on the second template below, for each of your learning goals you identified.
4) Reflection Reflect as a group, what did you learn about the importance of identifying the change you want to bring about, and identifying what you need to scale?
Assumptions and Uncertainties.pdf
Template 1 - Assumptions and Uncertainties
Research and Prototype Plan.pdf
Template 2 - Research and Prototype Plan
Nesta’s Scaling Plan can also be used to explore different ways to scale your work: