Introduction to Scaling

For innovation on complex social problems, two different aspects of scale are important to consider:

SCALING OUT: Involves the replication of an innovation; working to make a good initiative happen in more places in order to increase and spread its impact on managing a problem. According to the diagram below, scaling out occurs at the same level of a system.

SCALING UP: Refers to increasing an innovation’s impact in the broader system in order to address the root causes of the problem. Quite often, to make this kind of transformative change in a broader system, the innovation looks different in order to have impact on a different scale. According to the diagram below, scaling up occurs across one or more levels of a system.

The diagram below describes how change efforts at different scales, require different responses.

When change happens in a connected way across scales, it becomes stronger and more effective.