The Adianta School extends itsÂ heartiest welcome to Madeleine GabrielÂ – Principal Researcher at NESTAÂ (UK’s nodal agency for innovation)Â andÂ Kirsten Bound, who are here toÂ share theirÂ insights onÂ “HowÂ Social Innovations couldÂ Scale?”
Any social entrepreneur would love to be part of a massive societal change and make his/herÂ innovation indispensable, however, they also understand thatÂ innovation for a social impact is not ‘always’ scale-able and there are considerations to be taken into account.
Agreed that an innovation could have ampleÂ scaling potential and there could be deliberate strategies which might influence its development, but is there aÂ balance we could strike with respect to a desire forÂ anÂ impressive return on your innovation (rather investment!).
IsÂ scaling, after all, a process of growing impact by responding in accordance toÂ the needsÂ and prompts of people?Â Let us take a close look at how we could possibly zeroÂ upon the core strengths of futureÂ innovations.
10:00Â AM Madeleine is pleased to be here as she acquaints us withÂ her colleaguesÂ from NESTA who are curious and hopeful of innovationsÂ happening around the world and sharing their experiences from innovators in UK. A brief talk on followed on areas of interests were brought forth on : Funding Programmes/ Research and Policy/ Skills for innovation (inclusive innovation and social innovation/incubators based on scaling)/ Impact and investments Based of innovation thinking, a talk on how a social entrepreneur could eventuallyÂ ‘Make it Big’ addressed challenges and questions on possibilities toÂ approach andÂ solving challenges. Initially, 4 major modules of scaling were proposed andÂ 3 major ‘success factors’ (success stories) were also brought to light to better understand what can make scaling work? To understand how to effectively tackleÂ the dilemma on – to scale or not to scaleÂ and what could be the best organisational model for scaling ?
1stÂ Is it through Influence and Advise which would considerably impact on how much is adapted and changed as the innovation scalesÂ gradually? 2ndÂ Is it through Forming Â Strategic Partnerships with bigger organizations – as is the case with severalÂ entrepreneurs in UK who own small start ups andÂ have grown multi-fold by partnering with bigger organizations 3rdÂ Another way to effectively leverage a mode of scaling would be through building a delivery network through social franchising models for e.g. Â you have a delivery model likeÂ FoodCycleÂ franchiseÂ addressing food wastage, poverty and still ensuring strict standardsÂ forÂ quality check. The last model (4thÂ model) would be to grow an organisation to deliver the needs of society and allow its development over time ( This strategy is loose on control, but is meant to be set off and bloom) Sighting an exampleÂ Madeleine spoke of theÂ Code ClubÂ a nationwide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. It teaches them not be a passive computer games but rather enable themÂ to make games throughÂ thoroughÂ understand of coding skills and expertise.
10:15Â A.M. Its worth pointing out,Â how we could achieve Â and walk on the charted path throughÂ butÂ on priority, there should be an assessment of Â 1st – EffectiveÂ supplyÂ and demandÂ which could also provide zones of possibilities forÂ stakeholders and make them aware of people who would pay for it. It is much more just creatingÂ impact asÂ effective demand correspondinglyÂ creates a ‘need basedÂ model’ which could be ‘scale-able’considerably. 2nd – Swimming with the tide and capturingÂ a political priorityÂ orÂ a social trend etc. isÂ being muchÂ receptive and when it is coupled with strong networks itÂ could shapeÂ aÂ momentum for growth. 3rdÂ – Creating aÂ social movement by engaging aÂ communityÂ ’emotionally’ – through means ofÂ social media (like Code Club did with its quirky twitter feeds,Â meetups etc that got people together for a cause) However, there are tensions on how much control you want and how fast you want it to scale ?Â
A great idea emerges, it gets prototype,Â the business beginsÂ and itÂ grows but how massive do you want it to be ? Madeleine shared her observation on how theÂ Sunday AssemblyÂ ‘a godless congregation that meets to hear great talks, sing songs and generally celebrate the wonder of life’Â tookÂ a different approachÂ and later grew intoÂ supporting homeless peopleÂ in ways they could.
As the session was nearing an end, questions were invited from participants to facilitate a discussion on new ideas, RitaÂ (from NASSCOM)Â was interested to know onÂ how NESTA deals with supporting initiatives of innovators who are promoting practicesÂ theÂ government has failed to take up whilst framing its foundationÂ policy. Madeleine replied how NESTA is looking into healthcare ,but at the same time, looking at support groups by working with other partners that have good networks with policy making bodies.
This brought us on lines of how partnerships are very important and theÂ challengesÂ for social entrepreneurs who want to engage the government in the process. Madeleine spoke of NESTA and its association withÂ Timewise FoundationÂ which aims atÂ good quality part-time jobs whichÂ match theÂ level of skills and experience. This was also effective asÂ they have aÂ good link with the government and lobbying through these channels could also lead to a smooth transition in policy / legislation Â changes.
10:30 A.M. A student fromÂ ASLIÂ asks ‘do we scale at all and lose value?’Â Madeline replies – Social entrepreneurs want recognition by scaling up … but scaling is not for everyone.Â The next question is about NESTA and its association with designers to which a representative from NESTA replied Â ‘User Design to address social issues is also one of our interests and this is where the DESIS network which focuses on practical tools for Social Innovation and International Development has been developed.’
10:45 A.M.Â – 10:47Â A.M. KirstenÂ BoundÂ shares her experience onÂ Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative in Rwanda.Â She also speaks of theÂ DIY toolkit.orgÂ Â andÂ self help tools.Â Bringing the insightful session to a close she invites everyone at Adianta to pool in theirÂ experience and collaborate in shaping the ‘innovation hot-spot map’ whichÂ is under presently developing.