Scaling Development Outcomes

Two men lift large basket into a boat

Since 2003, MSI has been deeply engaged in efforts to study and advance the successful and sustainable scaling of social, economic and humanitarian outcomes. MSI serves as the secretariat for the Global Community of Practice on Scaling Development Outcomes, and MSI experts have authored many of the pioneering contributions on scaling.

MSI representatives also frequently serve as scaling advisors to a wide range of foundations, official donors and social entrepreneurs. Our scaling efforts span a variety of sectors with application in education, agriculture, health, governance, youth employment and child welfare.

Scaling Up from Vision to Large-Scale Change: A Management Framework for Practitioners

The Scaling Up Framework presents MSI’s three-step, ten-task management framework for scaling economic, social and political outcomes. The framework is intended to aid in designing interventions with scale in mind, assessing the scale potential of prototypes and pilot programs and guiding the process of taking specific interventions to scale. The framework has been applied in 47 countries to more than 500 interventions across a range of disciplines.

Scaling Toolkit for Practitioners: New 2021 Edition Available Now!

The newly revised edition of the popular MSI toolkit is intended as a companion to the MSI Scaling Up Framework. It includes tools for creating an overall scaling strategy, developing scaling plans, securing needed political support and financing, implementing the scaling process, and tracking progress toward sustainability.


Digital technology and African smallholder agriculture: Implications for public policy

COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges to Africa’s food and agriculture sector and to its millions of smallholder farmers. At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated innovative efforts to develop and deploy the transformative power of digital technology to address these problems in ways that leapfrog past practices and traditional solutions.

In this blog co-authored by MSI President Emeritus Larry Cooley, the Brooking Institution’s Director of the Africa Growth Initiative Aloysius Uche Ordu and the World Bank’s Senior Technology Advisor Lesly Goh, the authors explore the possibilities digital technology holds as a transformational force to drive scale.

Designing for Scale: A worksheet for developing a scaling strategy in education

Suddenly, talk of scaling and systems change in education seems to be popping up everywhere—and for good reason. Progress toward key educational goals has stalled or even regressed, and education systems have been slow to adopt and integrate disruptive change. As it becomes increasingly clear that planning for scale differs in important ways from typical project planning and from the common five-year education sector plans, it begs the question of what a “scaling strategy” looks like and how best to go about creating one. In this blog co-authored by MSI Senior Advisor and President Emeritus Larry Cooley and Brookings Center for Universal Education’s Jenny Perlman Robinson, the authors share the recently published Scaling Strategy Worksheet, which was developed to support an education initiative as it moves to larger scale.

The Scaling Strategy Worksheet is part of a collection of scaling tools designed to support an iterative, reflective and data-driven scaling process. See the full suite of resources on the Brookings website.

Education Scalability Checklist

Produced in collaboration with VVOB – education for development, the Brookings Center for Universal Education, Educate!, Pratham and STiR Education, the Education Scalability Checklist (ESC) and associated user’s guide adapts MSI’s Scalability Checklist to address the specific needs for scaling interventions in the education sector.

The goal of the ESC is to support policymakers, practitioners and funders to detect potential hurdles for scaling up education innovations, and of course, to remedy them. To learn more, see this article on Brookings’ Education Plus Development blog.

To further support the proper and effective application of the Checklist, please see this explainer video.

Crosscutting Issues Affecting Scaling: A Review and Appraisal of Scaling in International Development

MSI serves as Secretariat and Co-Chair for the Global Community of Practice on Scaling Development Outcomes, which it co-founded in 2014. Since then, the CoP has grown to more than 800 members drawn from 300 official donor organizations, host country governments, private foundations, think tanks, universities, and implementing organizations. The CoP’s fifth annual workshop was held virtually as a series of 12 sessions in October and November 2020. The ten-crossing cutting issues highlighted during those sessions are summarized in this working paper.

Toolkit for Scaling Maternal and Child Health Interventions

In support of the USAID-funded Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), MSI contributed to the Scale-up and Coordinator’s Guide for Supporting Country-Led Efforts to Systematically Scale-up and Sustain Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Interventions.

This guide is intended for use by those who support a country’s systematic process of scaling-up high-impact reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health interventions in the advanced stages of scale-up

Sourcebook for Scaling Agriculturation Innovation

The Scale Up Sourcebook was compiled in response to the September 2018 conference Innovations in Agriculture: Scaling Up to Reach Millions, organized by Purdue University, in partnership with the African Development Bank.

Co-written by MSI President Emeritus Larry Cooley and Julie Howard, the publication provided guidance and summarizes recent experience scaling pro-poor agricultural interventions.

Managing for Development Results Capacity Self-Assessment Toolkit

MSI developed the Capacity Self-Assessment tool (CAP-Scan) for a consortium of donors headed by the World Bank as a primary tool for helping governments assess and improve management for development results (MfDR) at the national and sectoral levels. CAP-Scan is a self-guided assessment methodology built around a tested maturity model and is intended to guide actional planning and targeted improvement in several areas: leadership, evaluation and monitoring, mutual accountability, planning and budgeting and statistics. CAP-Scan has been applied in 34 countries and adapted for additional use in the agriculture and power sectors.

The Broken Part of the Business Model in Taking Development Outcomes to Scale

This paper argues that there is a central element missing from many discussions about scale and scaling. At one end of the “supply chain”, support for innovation enjoys robust funding, strong institutions, and widespread success. At the other end of the chain, markets and governments have structures and funding models that allow them to deliver goods and services sustainably at scale. But these two parts of the chain are separated by a broken link – what the authors of this paper, Larry Cooley and Isabel Guerrero, refer to as “intermediation”. This 2018 paper describes the roles played by intermediary organizations, provides examples of successful intermediation, and suggests steps needed to strengthen this important link in the innovation supply chain.

Scaling Up in Fragile States

By 2030, an estimated 80% of the world’s extreme poor will live in “fragile states”. In this blog co-authored by MSI President Emeritus Larry Cooley and World Vision’s Executive Advisor on Fragile States Jonathan Papoulidis, the authors assert that the current paradigm of promoting economic growth and poverty reduction won’t work in the hardest places. They argue that while not a cure-all solution, scaling up approaches can provide a valuable foundation for strengthening and expanding programming in fragile states.

For a deeper look into the unique features of scaling development and humanitarian outcomes in fragile states and examples of successful efforts to address these challenges, refer to Larry and Jonathan’s article in the journal Development.


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