Explorations 06: Shaping successful scaling processes

In our efforts to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), scaling has become an unavoidable concept.

Impact at scale is needed to address critical global issues such as water availability, food security, and climate change. The international community have taken it up as a priority, but as a relative new area of professional attention, there are many questions on how to scale in practice. In this study, we present factors that make scaling processes more effective.

In earlier work, PPPLab has identified ten ‘ingredients’ or building blocks of scaling strategies (see Explorations #4, Insight Series #6 and The Scaling Scan). This new study looks at success factors for effective scaling processes. It focuses on how to shape the process: process dynamics, leadership, and the ability to act and relate, rather than on ‘what’ to address and achieve. What are the essential capabilities of those that lead the scaling process? How to make use of system dynamics in your scaling effort? How to partner in the most effective way to make scale happen?

This study is based on an extensive analysis of cases and integrates two particular perspectives on how scale happens: a) the innovation/technology-driven view, and b) the system change perspective. On the basis of the available material, we identified eight critical areas (each with specific success factors) that influence the effectiveness of scaling processes. Although there are no silver bullets, our range of sources suggests that addressing these factors provides essential guidance in realizing scaling ambitions in practice.