Scaling is the process of expanding beneficial technology and practices over geographies and across organizations to impact larger numbers of people.
The term ‘scaling’ is increasingly popular in international development efforts, especially in light of the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Scaling suggests providing a real solution for large numbers of people. The popularity of the term, however, is so far not matched by a high level of conceptual clarity or depth of approaches. In PPPLab’s Explorations 4 and Insight Series 6, we tried to unpack the concept of scaling and made it more understandable and actionable.
To help PPPs with their scaling strategies in practice, PPPLab in cooperation with CIMMYT also developed a tool to strengthen strategies for scale. The tool was developed in 2017 on basis of ongoing research of both organizations on how development initiatives scale in practice. Several test runs with the tool have been carried out with project teams in the Netherlands, Mexico, India, Nepal and Kenya.
The Scaling Scan helps you to analyze, reflect on, and sharpen your scaling ambition and approach. The tool consists of a self-assessment that helps you identifying the key challenges for the specific scaling situation and phase you are in.
The tool can be applied:
- a) when you have a proven solution and are ready to scale, or are already scaling; and
- b) when you are still working to get to the point where your proposition is ready to scale.
The Scaling Scan uses the ten scaling ingredients shown below, as a central focus to open up a rich understanding of what scaling your solution may require.
Please note that the Scaling Scan is not a design tool; it rather provides a snapshot in time identifying current weaknesses of your scaling strategy. The assessment can be filled in regularly by project teams to monitor progress in addressing these weaknesses.
You can download the first version of the Scaling Scan here. We encourage the use of this tool by anybody (with appropriate referencing). As the tool is still under development, we have a strong request that after application, you provide us feedback with:
- What project you have applied it to
- With what kind of objective(s)
- With what kind of workshop setting
- Through what process
- You experience and suggestions on that basis
On basis of the test runs and feedback, we are planning to publish a next version in June 2018. An interactive team version in Google Sheets is also available, which allows teams to fill out the tool simultaneously during facilitated workshops and discussion. If you want to make use of this interactive version please contact us directly. Also, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
- Jan Ubels, MT member PPPLab, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Floortje Jacobs, advisor PPPLab, email@example.com
- Lennart Woltering, scaling expert CIMMYT, firstname.lastname@example.org