Scaling impact by putting people first - New IDRC book!

Get a free & open access version of the book, including a foreword by Robert Chambers here:

Time to re-think concepts of scaling and impact?

Expanding "impact" with "innovation" is the increasingly common objective of governments and private investors alike. But does bigger and bolder always bring about better change in ways that people endorse? 

In a just released book, Scaling Impact: Innovation for the Public Good, my co-author John Gargani (Past-President, American Evaluation Association) and I review the experience of development projects around the world and uncover how a more people-centered way to create, and then scale, good change is possible. We describe how putting people first provides a way to ensure gender and sustainability are not overshadowed by goals of expansion and growth.

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The world is changing rapidly, and persistent problems like environmental degradation or accelerating inequality impact the entire global community and press us to do better for each other and our environment. For organisations and individuals working to tackle big social issues and create positive change, scaling impact is a common goal and a well-founded aim. Challenges like these seem to demand a significant scale of action, and here the authors argue that a more creative and critical approach to scaling is both possible and essential.

Scaling Impact introduces a new and practical approach to scaling the positive impacts of research and innovation. Inspired by leading scientific and entrepreneurial innovators from across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East, this book presents a synthesis of diversity and grounded ingenuity. The result is a different perspective on how to achieve impact that matters, and an important challenge to the predominant ‘bigger-is-better’ paradigm of scaling.

To encourage uptake and co-creation, the authors present actionable principles that can help organisations and innovators design, manage, and evaluate scaling strategies. Scaling Impact is a call to action for all actors concerned with social innovation, to think critically about scaling up scientific research and to be more scientific in how we scale.


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