Intervention stages


Moving to scale

A pilot intervention in meant to prove if an innovation can work in your market system. Once you have accomplished this, it is time to move to ‘scale’. As with many complex terms in development, such as ‘poverty’, scale is defined principally by context. For our purposes, scale can be defined as having been reached when a large number (again, large depends on context) of non-target market actors have taken on a new market innovation and that this is in turn having a positive impact in the lives of an even larger number of poor people. The Springfield Centre’s AAER framework provides useful guidance to determining if you are seeing signs of scale.


How to assess systemic change.

Reaching scale should be intentional, meaning that you cannot simply rely on your pilot partner to demonstrate a new innovation and expect their peers to adopt or adapt the idea as a result. Scaling up will often involve working not just with early adopters but also with a group of ‘second movers’. Often, your support to them will need to be just as, if not more intensive, than your support to your initial partner.

Getting to scale: Lessons in reaching scale in private sector development programmes

You will undoubtedly find barriers to your scale up strategy, due to the fact that pilot phase partners were unrepresentative of their peers; new constraining factors or root causes that were previously deemed less of a priority are inhibiting crowding-in; and/or support to pilot partners gave them too much advantage for their peers to catch up.

M4P Operational Guide, Chapter 4: Intervention

Core principles and frameworks to guide effective intervention.

Some strategies to reach scale could include:

  • One to one visits: For instance, a visit to a firm whom you have not yet engaged but has the capacity to copy a business model.
  • Conferences or seminars: You can organise them or work to get invited to one.
  • Field visits: Get some of the actors who could benefit from the new knowledge to visit those who are doing things in new and successful ways.
  • Production of “knowledge assets”: These can be brochures, papers, reports, briefings, videos, podcasts or any other products packaged in appropriate formats for different types of market actors.
  • Engaging with local or national journalists: This involves helping them to see their role as key information service providers in market systems as well as getting your message out.