Development Initiatives, Experts Must Keep ‘Persistent Focus’ On Scaling, Opinion Piece Says

Devex: Opinion: Scaling up development impact — the opportunities and challenges
Johannes F. Linn, nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, distinguished resident scholar of the Emerging Markets Forum, and senior adviser at the Results for Development Institute (R4D)

“…While we pursued the scaling agenda at Brookings, others in the development community also increasingly focused on how to scale. So, together with Larry Cooley of Management Systems International, we created the Scaling Up Community of Practice, dedicated to bringing together professionals interested in scaling up development impact. This CoP now consists of over 500 participants from over 200 organizations engaged in regular exchanges about how best to support scaling in education, health, agriculture, social enterprises, youth employment, and nutrition, in fragile states and through effective monitoring and evaluation. … But the biggest challenge is how to internalize, mainstream, and sustain the scaling idea and approach in an organization. Two fundamental barriers remain … : the pervasive focus on one-off projects with little or no incentive for staff in the institutions to think beyond the project’s life; and the fact that institutional memories are short, as new managers look for new ideas and initiatives rather than building on those of their predecessors. What is the answer to this challenge? A relentlessly persistent focus on scaling by those who care about development impact at scale” (11/25).