Tactics for Scaling

There are a number of tactics that can help to scale up, out, and deep.
In their work on social entrepreneurship, Gregory Dees and Beth Battle Anderson outline "five Rs" that innovators can use to help determine their best strategies for scaling: readiness, receptivity, resources, risks, and returns.
  • Readiness: Is the innovation ready for scaling?
  • Receptivity: What must be true to best ensure that the innovation will be well-received in these new contexts? Do the proposed new contexts or audiences find the innovation desirable?
  • Resources: What resources are required for scaling, and are they available? Is scaling feasible?
  • Risks: What risks does scaling pose – for the target population, wider society, the innovators and related organizations, and the credibility of the innovation itself? Consider the risks involved with both scaling and not scaling, as there are always risks in choosing not to act. How might these risks be mitigated?
  • Returns: Is scaling viable? Does it make sense given both the required investment and its potential for change?
Innovators can explore the "five Rs" using field research, prototyping, testing, and iteration.
The above section has been contributed by Roya Damabi from Alberta CoLab.
To scale up, out and deep effectively, there are a number of tactics that can help. Two useful sets of ideas are summarized in the following. These are:

Transformative Scaling

Transformative scaling is an attempt to go beyond scaling in an incremental manner, which is no longer sufficient. Here are two overarching strategies for transformative scaling, field/ sector-building pathways, which works with an existing constellation of actors, and organizational pathways, which builds on what individual organizations can do.
Source: Bradach, Grindle. Emerging Pathways to Transformative Scale, 2014. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/emerging_pathways_to_transformative_scale.

Scaling Routes

The scaling routes below help social innovators to think about the best scaling strategies for them, including the benefits and challenges of each.
Source: Gabriel, M., Making it Big: Strategies for scaling social innovations. Nesta (July 2014). Found at http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/making_it_big-web.pdf

Conditions for Scaling

  • A solution or intervention that works at scale
  • People who want it and know how to use it
  • People who want to provide or produce it
  • People who will champion it or pay for it
  • Ecosystem of enabling conditions, actors, governance and policies