When should scaling be your approach vs. starting from scratch with a new population?

Q: I’ve seen HCD solutions working for one segment, and then failing to yield positive effects with another segment, even after insight, gathering, and adaptation have been done. Therefore, when should scaling be your approach vs. starting from scratch with a new population?

From Alice Metcalf, Senior Consultant, Spring Impact:

  • For me this relates to another question of “when do you know, or how do you know whether or not scale is for you”, and that is something that you should be focused on. There are many amazing solutions and interventions that exist in a very hyperlocalized contact existing to serve a very like localized problem. And its often the case where it might not be part of your mission as an organization to scale outside of that space.
  • That’s where I’d encourage you to think about other scale pathways. So beyond thinking how we take this solution elsewhere, its important to think about what else we be doing to tackle this problem at scale. Are there other levers that you could be pulling things like social movements, influencing policy, or even just going deep with the impact that you’re having?

“It is good to flag that that idea of scale in terms of picking something up and moving it elsewhere Isn’t isn’t necessarily for everyone.”

  • The process of distilling down what is so impactful about what you’re doing, and what could others learn from it is a helpful mindset.
  • We’ve worked with many organizations that have wanted to scale, but they haven’t scale their whole solution. Instead, it might be a particular approach that they’ve taken within their work that they think is really impactful.

From community member, Megan Christofield:

“They seem different in the way that HCD is often hyper-contextualized to the stakeholders with whom you’re working, whereas thinking about scale encourages us to think about solving a problem that appears different in different contexts.”

Sometimes, how you deliver an intervention or the implementation strategy is also something that could be adapted, and it’s not necessarily just the solution itself that could be adapted to your new context.