7 steps to making transformative headway

April 14, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

All the best intentions in the world won’t make much difference if someone isn’t wiling to put in a lot of hard word.

An article distributed by The Bridgespan Group, which originally appeared on the “Stanford Social Innovation Review” website, discusses the promise offered by Transformative Scale, using existing structures to expand and replicate, in conjunction with other organizations, using both nonprofit and for-profit models. The article cautions that putting Transformative Scale to work will take time and require patience.

Further, there are several considerations that should be kept in mind. They are:

  • Be clear about success. Crystal-clear objectives are the essential component of any strategy.
  • Focus on a well-defined unit of impact. Without evidence of impact, there’s no reason to scale.
  • Rethink capitalization. Shed the illusion that overhead and infrastructure, making risk capital available and providing an entirely different magnitude of both growth capital and ongoing revenue, are cheaper than conventional replication strategies.
  • Innovate to drive down costs. There is much to learn from social innovators in developing countries who have no choice but to hold costs at rock bottom from the start.
  • Focus on driving demand. Both “supply” and “demand” dynamics are required.
  • Invest in new capabilities. Funders will need to take risks on the major investments needed to build capabilities that many nonprofits don’t possess.
  • Engage the community. Knowledge of local circumstances and the deep engagement of local players can be critical in helping a solution spread and stick.