New Scaling-Up Paper Describes Lessons Learned


Click on the cover to open the paper.

The international development community wants to build on successful innovations being done throughout the world. In order to do this, donors and agencies will need to learn from their innovations and scale them in systematic ways. A new paper features two scaling-up frameworks that will help this process be efficient and successful.

MSI’s founder and President Larry Cooley and Johannes Linn from the Brookings Institute and Emerging Market Forum wrote the paper “Taking Innovations to Scale: Methods, Applications and Lessons.” The paper addresses MSI’s Scaling Up Framework and International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) framework.

Read the paper to discover the lessons learned and other findings.

Along with describing these two frameworks, the authors come to a consensus that they are complementary. MSI’s scaling-up process guides organizations through specific tasks to design and implement scaling-up strategies and pathways. IFAD’s method centers on high-level policy and institutional analysis.

The authors found common principles in the two processes, which include:

-          Projects are considered building blocks or steps along the scaling-up pathway.

-          Learning and scaling up must be in the design from the start.

-          Intermediary organizations are very important in the scaling up process.

The lessons learned compiles together an informative list that any designer or implementer of scaling up should know and reference. They emphasize that “innovation, learning and scaling up should be treated as separate, linked processes.” In the lessons learned section, the authors give clear direction on other topics like the link between innovation and scale, roles and responsibilities of scaling-up actors, and designing and managing for scale.

Our scaling-up work started more than 12 years ago. It continues today working with longtime partners like the Population Foundation of India and new clients like USAID’s Global Development Lab.

Visit our scaling up site to see all of our latest work, resources and experts.

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Middle East Policy Journal Highlights Successes in Iraqi Public Policy

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Click the cover to see Joseph’s essay.

MSI’s Joseph Scheibel recently published the essay “Opportunities in Crisis: Iraq’s Steps toward Inclusion” in the fall issue of the Middle East Policy Journal. The timing of this article is significant as Iraq has retaken the headlines in recent months.

Read an excerpt from the journal here.

“It is an honor to be published in the Middle East Policy Journal (MEPJ) for a pair of reasons – first, MEPJ’s stature and influence in the field is unquestionable,” said Scheibel. “Second, development in Iraq as the subject at hand has been very close to me and to MSI since I started here five years ago.”

Even as the immediate outlook remains uncertain for Iraq, there are long-term considerations for development and inclusion within the Iraqi government. With USAID’s Tarabot and Tatweer projects, we have worked with three distinct Iraqi governments as they worked to improve and make progress amid countless domestic challenges.

“We’ve seen others governments emerge from these types of problems and slingshot forward, improving in areas like infrastructure, service delivery, or, as is discussed in the article, public policymaking,” said Scheibel. “The government in Iraq has continued to function throughout these latest challenges. Workers aren’t staying home, they are in their offices keeping the lights on and schools open, and the incoming leadership has certainly been saying the right things in terms of inclusion and development moving forward.”

Critical work is still being done in Iraq to strengthen their government and help their citizens. Important strides have been made in creating public policies to protect homeless orphans and decrease youth unemployment. This article shows some of the hard work that isn’t necessarily taking headlines but is necessary for a democracy to succeed.

Joseph worked as an advisor in Baghdad during our former public administration capacity building project Tatweer, as well as for our current Tarabot project. As a Technical Associate at MSI, he works now on capacity building projects in the Middle East.

Learn more about our Tarabot project that strengthens public administration, civil service and public policy.

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Devex Sits Down with President Larry Cooley to Talk Scaling Up

MSI President and Founder Larry Cooley was interviewed by Devex on the scalability of development projects. The entire article and 2 videos can be found here.  

As a whole, the international development community stresses innovation, and donors and agencies keep trying to find the best way to innovate. This can sometimes lead to “pilot [projects] to nowhere.”

So how can this be counteracted to create projects with scalability in mind?

Through our scaling up work funded by the MacArthur Foundation and Packard Foundation, we researched and have published a Scaling Up Management Framework. The Framework tries to address:

1) How can you assess the inherent scalability of a project?
2) If designing for scale, how do you make sure the project is designed with scale in mind?
3) If you inherit something that is scalable, how can you manage the scaling up process?

Read more about our Scaling Up Management Framework and Toolkit here.

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Engaging with Young African Leaders for the Future

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MSIer Lindsay North talking to a participant at YALI Expo.

MSI was privileged to participate in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Expo that took place in Washington, D.C. on July 29, 2014.  MSI staff Brian Calhoon and Lindsay North took part in the three-hour event, talking with an exemplary group of youth from all 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa about their ambitions, as well as MSI’s work in numerous African countries to improve governance, engage youth in the development process, and strengthen civil society.

YALI is an Obama Administration initiative intended to provide young leaders with additional training, connections and grant opportunities to help advance their careers and contribute to economic development across the continent. This year’s Fellows were selected from a pool of nearly 50,000 applicants in the areas of entrepreneurship, activism, and public service.  They represent an impressive array of accomplished youth, including physicians, graduate students, activists, entrepreneurs and public servants.

One Fellow, Hassan Abdi from Djibouti, is using speech recognition algorithms to protect the Somali language and plans to begin the same for the language and culture of Djibouti in the near future. Another Fellow, Saba Kahsay Bisrat of Ethiopia, founded her own construction firm and plans to open up a labor training center to provide vocational education and internship opportunities for Ethiopian youth.

Following the Expo, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah and Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom spoke to the Fellows, noting “the boundless commitment and dedication of [the Fellows] to write their future and to make a difference.”

Click here to learn more about MSI’s youth-focused work.

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Lebanese Voices Growing Stronger on Social Media

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In this edition of USAID’s Frontlines, MSI’s USAID-funded Promoting Active Citizen Engagement (PACE) program in Lebanon is featured.  Our chief of party, Ghada Khouri, helped to author the article, highlighting the many activities and NGOs PACE is supporting to help raise citizens’ voices through Lebanon’s increasing social media channels.

Given the country’s complex media environment, NGOs are using social media in innovative ways to promote dialogue and engage with citizens in low-cost ways.  One such NGO, the Lebanese Center for Active Citizenship (LCAC), has worked with PACE to enhance its social media presence and expand its messaging to towns farther from its base of operations. From a modest presence on social media, the NGO has grown its following on Facebook and created a blog and digital publication.  PACE has provided training and support to use social media more strategically.

A more established NGO, Maharat, is also expanding its social media presence, including among youth, thanks to support provided by PACE and USAID.  When it partnered with PACE in late 2012, the NGO had virtually no social media presence. It now runs an independent news portal and has a robust Facebook presence.  Journalism students from six Lebanese universities help to develop the content, earning academic credit for their work.

Maharat representatives recently visited MSI to talk about the role of media and were featured on our Facebook page.

Click here to read more about how PACE is helping to engage citizens using social media.

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