New Frontiers in Scaling Social Impact: General Articles on Scaling

SSIR x Omidyar Network/Accion Venture Lab: On Innovators and Pinballs | Standford Social Innovation Review | Winter 2014 

Michael Kubzansky (VP for Interlectual Capital at the Omidyar Network) and Paul Breloff (Director of the Accion Venture Lab) challenge the common thinking around scaling in impact investing. According to them most investors focus too much on the growth of the social enterprise only disregarding the even more powerful indirect pathways to scale impact.

SSIR x Global Development Incubator: What is your endgame? | Standford Social Innovation Review | Winter 2014 

The leaders of the Global Development Incubator ask in their article if "How do you scale up?" is the the right question for social sector leaders. They argue that most nonprofits, after all, face barriers to organizational growth that remain too high and that by asking "What is your endgame?" and by focusing on a different kind of goal, leaders can maximize their ability to achieve significant social impact.

SSIR x Bridgespan: Achieving Transformative Scale | Standford Social Innovation Review | Summer 2014 

Stanford Social Innovation Review, in collaboration with The Bridgespan Group, has created this nine-week blog series to explore pathways that social sector leaders around the world are pursuing to take solutions that work to a scale that truly transforms society.

Ashoka Globalizer Basics on Increasing Impact by Opening up your Social Innovation | The Ashoka Globalizer | June 2012

This presentation shares some initial considerations on scaling social impact by engaging more and more changemakers into the process to help create long-lasting and wide-reaching change. 

Scaling Social Impact: When Everybody Contributes, Everybody Wins | Jon McPhedran Waitzer and Roshan Paul | Innovations | June 2011

This article provides an overview of the existing challenges of scaling social innovations and on possible strategies to overcome the core obstacles. The authors describe emerging mechanisms for scaling impact beyond organizational growth; they identify “open-source changemaking” (or open innovation) and “smart networks” as key pathways for spreading social innovations. They also discuss lessons learnt from practice by introducing the Ashoka Globalizer and scaling strategies of the social entrepreneurs involved.

Creating Large-Scale Change: Not “Can” but “How  | Gregory Dees | What Matters: McKinsey Publishing | April 2010

In terms of creating scale and change, the article raises three essential questions: “How can more social entrepreneurs achieve greater, that is, more widespread and lasting impact, sooner and more cost effectively? How can social entrepreneurs magnify and accelerate the scale of their impact by looking beyond simply growing their organizations or replicating their service models? And how can we create an ecosystem that optimizes the benefits of social entrepreneurship to society?” Furthermore the author proposes three reframing steps: shift from “can” to “how can”, explore all methods for scaling impact and accept scale as a shared responsibility.

Scaling Impact: How to Get 100x the Results With 2x the Organization | Jeffrey Bradach | Stanford Social Innovation Review | Summer 2010

The article introduces new tools and strategies for ways to scale impact beyond adding program replication sites. Because this way of thinking about growth is quite new, social entrepreneurs are still figuring out the best approaches. But some pioneers have identified tools and strategies that expand the impact of organizations well beyond what their size would seem capable of generating.

What Do We Mean by Scale?: Reframing the Conversation | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations | February 2011

This briefing paper is the first topic in a series from GEO’s Scaling What Works initiative, which was released in 2011. Authored by Dara Major, the collection pulls together the best thinking, research and actionable approaches to scaling impact, as well as provides additional resources for grantmakers that would like to dive deeper into paper concepts and questions. To effectively grow impact the article suggests the following steps as crucial: Clarify purpose, Define an approach, Target activities that facilitate scaling, Adopt practices that support grantee results.

When Good Is Not Good Enough| Bill Shore, Darell Hammond, & Amy Celep | Stanford Social Innovation Review | Fall 2013

In this paper leaders of two of the most successful nonprofit organizations argue that the sector needs to shift its attention from modest goals that provide short-term relief to bold goals that, while harder to achieve, provide long-term solutions by tackling the root of social problems.

Cultivate Your Ecosystem | Gregory Dees | Stanford Social Innovation Review | Winter 2008

This article argues that Social entrepreneurs not only must understand the broad environment in which they work, but also must shape those environments to support their goals, when feasible. Borrowing insights from the field of ecology, the authors offer an ecosystems framework to help social entrepreneurs create long-lasting and significant social change.

The Definitive Guide to Scaling Social Enterprise | Rizwan Tayabali | March 2010

“The Definitive Guide to Scaling Social Enterprises” outlines 12 new models for scaling social outcomes that are more effective than the traditional commercial mechanisms of organic growth, franchising, acquisition and mergers.