Experiences in Scaling Up Impact from the Ashoka Globalizer Program

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This article originally appeared on Inclusive Business Hub

Why don’t great ideas that are useful and working effectively to solve some of the most pressing social challenges, “travel” as well as business ideas do? Why aren’t they able to scale to solve similar social challenges happening in other parts of the world?

What is preventing our Ashoka fellows from scaling their work better and faster? With this question in mind, in 2009 we launched the Ashoka Globalizer Program to find the answer and potential solutions.

The first thing we quickly understood is that scaling social ideas didn´t follow the “market incentives and mechanisms” that business ideas do. When you scale a business idea, the potential of bigger monetary gains offset the problems and risks. However, when scaling a social idea, what you get is typically larger challenges and problems (more funding is needed, more people to support and help, etc.).

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Ashoka insight

Through the Globalizer Summits and a host of global conversations, the central tenet of scaling for impact has been clear: let loose a well-defined idea to create a movement or mission-aligned ecosystem, rather than only growing the organization behind it. Two strategic imperatives have shone through: liberate the core, and become a magnet.