Adoption of an innovation at large scale maximises its potential for impact, yet many innovations struggle to scale up.
Innovators find that strategic and sustained effort to facilitate adoption is crucial to transform an effective innovation into a widespread humanitarian practice.
Since the launch of ‘Journey to Scale’ as an area of focus in 2016, Elrha has identified barriers and tactics that are critical to scaling humanitarian innovation, and through providing targeted funding, Elrha has supported successful innovations to increase their impact by progressing in their journey to scale.
We introduced our ‘Journey to Scale’ work to support promising innovations to become scale-ready through a bespoke package of advice, tools and guidance.
This work started with an open funding call for scale-ready innovation projects. The most promising organisations and partnerships were invited to develop their scale strategy.
From there we chose three projects to support over the three years, providing each with £400,000 funding, along with additional mentoring and technical assistance.
Using a similar approach for a second ‘Journey to Scale’ cohort, in 2020 Elhra began disbursing £2.8 (in total) to a further five innovations. A third Journey to Scale funding call will launch in 2023.
The video below summarises the first phase of our Journey to Scale work, where you can hear from the three innovations we supported.
Drawing on the experience across its Areas of Focus, and through the funding Journeys to Scale, we have identified barriers and tactics that are critical to scaling humanitarian innovation.
In 2018, we published Too Tough to Scale? Challenges to Scaling Innovation in the Humanitarian Sector. The report identifies 13 barriers across five different challenge areas, and provides clear calls to action for different humanitarian actors to contribute to sector-wide transformative change.
Since then, we launched the Scaling Series of learning papers. Each of these three papers addressed different aspects of the barriers to scale.
The first paper in the Scaling Series, Humanitarian Procurement: Challenges and Opportunities in the Adoption of WASH Product Innovations, focuses on the demand side for product innovations and the connection between supply and demand, particularly focusing on procurement.
The second paper, Impact Evidence and Beyond: Using Evidence to Drive Adoption of Humanitarian Innovations, provides guidance to humanitarian innovators on how to use evidence to enable and drive adoption of innovation.
The third paper, How to Scale: Tactics to Enable the Adoption of Humanitarian Innovations, provides a playbook of tactics for innovators who are aiming to scale through enabling other organisations to adopt their innovation.
Our series of blogs delves deeper and unpacks some of the most pressing barriers to scale highlighted in our 'Too tough to scale' report. In these blogs we explore the key challenges and how we can all work together to change them.
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