On March 31, 2021, NORRAG hosted the webinar “Scaling Impact: An Introduction to Achieving Impact at Scale” in collaboration with John Gargani, evaluator, writer, teacher, founder and president of Gargani + Company, Inc. and Robert McLean, senior programme specialist with the Policy and Evaluation Division of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).
Watch the webinar here.
Robert McLean and John Gargani introduced their book “Scaling Impact: Innovation to the Public Good” which presents actionable principles to help organizations and innovators design, manage and evaluate scaling strategies. Drawing from their work with southern innovators, the speakers unpack the term ‘scaling’.
The webinar was organized in four sessions, each consisting of relevant themes with videos, followed by discussions. The first session “Scaling: means versus ends” highlighted the different types of scaling approaches i.e., scaling up, scaling out, scaling deep, same scaling, descaling and not scaling. The second session “Optimal impact and trade-offs” explored the 4 dimensions of impact when scaling i.e., Magnitude, Variety, Sustainability and Equity. The third session involved an exercise on building a multi-dimensional understanding of impact at ‘optimal scale.’ To further understand how these dimensions of impact are related, Margarita Lopez, Senior Program Specialist, IDRC shared an innovation designed to increase retention of students at schools. The final session “Principles for scaling impact” discussed the 4 principles: Justification, Optimal Scale, Coordination and Dynamic evaluation.
According to the speakers “developing a different mindset about scaling takes time, practice, and participation of others” and just as important is the need to “act in the face of uncertainty” and figuring out how “scaling affects the dynamic way the world works” because the world is changing and it is critical to understand how and when scaling is useful and when it stops being useful.
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