Scaling what works doesn’t work – we need to scale impact instead
Pathways to impact at scale
Scaling Science, understood as a justified and coordinated focus on impact at optimal scale (rather than just bigger or more), may already be a part of your work – even if you’re not calling it such. And you don’t have to be a vaccine scientist for this to be the case. In this table, we illustrate how scaling matters for a variety of purposes.
But remember, more policies, programs, products and technologies will not make a better world. Research must inform these interventions and how they optimize impacts.
Pathway Scaling is when research is used to… For example, … Policy … inform a new policy for public good, or perhaps influence the replication, adaptation or extension of the policy into new jurisdictions to amplify its impact. … a research program uses evidence from one country that successfully implemented a tax on sugary drinks, to inform policy in another country to achieve a similar impact on public health. Program … design a program, improve an existing program’s quality, change the program to fit a new context, or form partnerships with others to improve overall impact. … evidence from a successful national centre of science excellence is used to establish similar centres in other countries within the region. Behaviour, practice or skill … design behaviour or practice change interventions – such as awareness campaigns, or evidence-based guidelines – and study the roll-out of these interventions for people and organizations. … sharing results with communities of successful early antenatal visits encourages more pregnant women to visit a health care facility in first three months of pregnancy. Product or technology … produce new goods and services, make existing products/technologies more accessible, or optimize the value-chain underpinning a good or service like a fertilizer, software, vaccine, or internet platform. … agricultural researchers work with farmers to develop a more nutritious variety of potato, and farming cooperatives help build the markets and supply chains to reach consumers equitably. Methodology … develop, re-orient, or otherwise optimize a way of knowing and/or doing that will generate social impact. … users of a novel participatory research approach share the method with researchers in a neighbouring discipline, and thereby expand the benefits of stakeholder inclusion to a new field of practice.