inFocus supports individual organisations to increase their individual impact, and partnerships to elevate their collective work through three inter-related approaches to planning:

  • Scale Out: find ways to do more for (or better by) the population already served by your programmes
  • Scale Up: increase your impact by expanding the numbers of beneficiaries reached or geographies covered
  • Scale Together: increase the impact of all cross-sector actors engaged in solving a social problem, by creating & coordinating a Social Impact Partnership (SIP) to drive changes in the ‘system’ and to improve the quality of frontline services

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Alison Carney

Senior Evaluation & Learning Consultant

Scale Out: Deepen Impact

The following three stages of planning are central to the concept of scaling out: 

  • Intentional Programme Design that focuses upon the desired results for the population served and incorporation of existing good practices modified to your context and needs.
  • Participatory Strategic Implementation Planning brings together a clear vision for the future, clarity about potential barriers to progress, and innovative strategies to overcome them. Strategies are then translated into a realistic and actionable implementation plan.
  • Evaluating and Improving depends upon strong social impact measurement (SIM) systems and processes that help embed a learning culture and drive continuous quality improvement.

The infographic opposite shows the subsequent programme maturation process over time.


Scale Up: Reach More People

inFocus helps organisations to proactively develop a ‘Scaling Up’ strategy with a clear route to affecting more beneficiaries and/ or serving a larger geographic area.  We provide Scaling Up strategies for organisations that  are ‘ready to scale.’ In other words, those that have already successfully strengthened and matured their initiatives beyond an initial ‘proof of concept phase’ and have demonstrated  evidence of effective programming.

We help organisations consider the right ‘end game’ or route to scaling up, as well as how different approaches and potential growth models will affect the organisation’s future role in scaling up services (e.g. could lead to a greater emphasis on training and managing franchise contracts) and human resource planning.

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Scale Up: Planning Stages

Adapted from ‘Making it Big’: Nesta

Scale Together: Impact through Partners

Systemic social change (e.g. reduced health inequalities) cannot be achieved by one organisation, but can be affected through the collective efforts of cross sector actors. Partnerships can be demanding, with sometimes little to show for a lot of discussion. inFocus helps to drive collective efforts by facilitating the ideal conditions for a Social Impact Partnership (SIP) to create consistent community-level results. Key SIP ingredients¹: 

  • Develop a common agenda to align efforts to a shared vision for change
  • Develop shared Social Impact Measurement (SIM) systems to ensure efforts remain aligned and participants are accountable for results
  • Develop mutually reinforcing activities and action plans that retain individual points of differentiation, whilst being coordinated for maximum effect
  • Continuous communication to build trust and assure mutual objectives and motivations
  • Establish ‘backbone’ support a dedicated entity to coordinate participating partners and their efforts.

¹These five conditions are taken from an original article in Stanford Social Innovation review Jan 2013: ‘Embracing Emergence: How Collective Impact Addresses Complexity’ by John Kania & Mark Kramer

Related publication

Shaping the ‘Sport for Development’ Agenda post-2015

The aim of this report is to propose a ‘well-informed’ strategic framework for scaling up the social impact achieved through the Sport for Development (S4D) field. A pre-requisite to this task has been to better define what S4D is, why it represents an important social innovation and the mechanisms through which it creates positive social change.

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