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PATRI 04. Readiness to Scale: A Guide for Scaling Social Business


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Step by step guide to help social enterprises and social businesses assess and improve the readiness of their teams and organisation when scaling impact and operations. This guide is based based on the PATRI Framework for Scaling Social Impact.

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PATRI 04. Readiness to Scale: A Guide for Scaling Social Business

  1. 1. Readiness To Scale: A Guide for Scaling Social Business Rizwan Tayabali Supported by Ashoka Globalizer
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. Adapted from The PATRI Framework for Scaling Social Impact © Rizwan Tayabali, 2014 3
  4. 4. The PATRI framework takes you step by step through all the aspects of diligence needed to understand whether or not scaling is feasible for you and if so, to produce an effective scaling plan that you can follow during implementation. 4
  5. 5. PATRI Framework I Purpose II Applicability (Viability) III Transferability IV Readiness V Implementation 5
  6. 6. An overview of the complete PATRI Framework, is provided in a linked presentation called ... “PATRI Framework for Scaling Social Business” 6 PATRI Framework
  7. 7. Caveats 1. The following guide is specifically targeted at social businesses and therefore places an emphasis on financial viability along with impact i.e. It is designed for organisations that create their impact through the use of business models. 2. The PATRI Framework is focused on scaling rather than incremental growth. If you are simply aiming to set up operations in another location or enter another market, then the framework will still offer you value, but some aspects of it may only be applicable a bit further down the line. 7
  8. 8. The 1st step of the Framework is to define purpose and targets, without which you have no useful basis for planning or design. If you haven’t already got clarity around these, more support is provided in a linked presentation called ... “Defining Purpose: A Guide To Scaling Social Business” Purpose
  9. 9. The 2nd step of the Framework, is to understand whether or not your model will be applicable at scale, and if not, how you could adjust it to make it more relevant and viable. If you haven’t already considered applicability, support is provided in a linked presentation called ... “Applicability at Scale: A Guide To Scaling Social Business” Applicability (Viability)
  10. 10. The 3rd step of the Framework is to improve your solution and model’s ability to be replicated or delivered by others i.e. to ensure that it is systematic and transferable for use in scaling, either by your own teams or by external partners. If you haven’t already addressed transferability, support is provided in a linked presentation called ... “Transferability for Scale: A Guide To Scaling Social Business” Transferability
  11. 11. Once you have standardised your methodologies and processes, you can begin to focus on whether or not your organisation and people are ready for scaling.
  12. 12. This guide thus focuses specifically on the 4th step of the Framework, which helps you establish whether or not your organisation and people are ready for scaling, and if not, what you can do about it.
  13. 13. Readiness 13
  14. 14. It is worth evaluating organisational readiness prior to implementation because the costs involved are typically significant, not just in terms of infrastructure, but also in terms of time and effort required to embed new working practices. Readiness
  15. 15. Once you go past this stage, you will also begin to commit significant resources to scaling, and it will get harder and more painful to back out or change direction if things don’t work out as planned. Readiness
  16. 16. As the costs and implications aggregate, this therefore is the final stage at which you can safely decide whether or not to proceed with scaling in the way you expect. Readiness
  17. 17. Key Factors Organisational Design Optimal Size Decision Making Resistance to Change Knowledge Technology Infrastructure Readiness 17
  18. 18. Regardless of approach, the process of scaling is likely to require a degree of organisational evolution and some increase in size. Readiness Organisational Design
  19. 19. Existing capacity and expertise may need to be redeployed to focus on scaling, and new teams and skills may need to be created. The way your organisation is designed needs to be flexible enough to support this. Readiness Organisational Design
  20. 20. You can improve flexibility by... 1. Reorganising your teams, roles and responsibilities into verticals that directly reflect core strategies and components. 2. Reducing management hierarchies by moving towards a skill oriented one. 3. Focusing rewards on collective outcomes rather than individual ones 4. Devolving decision-making and rewarding initiative & entrepreneurialism Readiness Organisational Design
  21. 21. Scaling can require technical skills that aren't necessarily present in social organisations, and often requires a level of capacity that can't easily be fulfilled by overstretched teams. This is especially so when you are embarking on new pathways to making an impact. Readiness Optimal Size
  22. 22. Increasing the workload of existing teams, especially when this includes new activities they aren't familiar with or specialised for, can introduce a significant element of risk and operational stress. Readiness Optimal Size
  23. 23. Estimating workload at this stage will therefore give you an early idea of the kind of resourcing it will actually take to effectively implement and deliver outcomes at scale. Readiness Optimal Size
  24. 24. The key is to map out the skills and capacity that you think will be required for setting up and executing your chosen mechanism(s) of scaling. Readiness Optimal Size
  25. 25. An effective way to do this, is to 1. Identify the programs and activities needed to deliver your core strategies 2. Break those activities into component tasks. 3. Then estimate the skills and effort required to execute those tasks to the quality you need. Readiness Optimal Size
  26. 26. The end result should allow you to establish at least a fair understanding of what your optimal size and structure should be, both to kick off the scaling process, and to eventually run and manage delivery and outcomes on the scale you are aiming for. Readiness Optimal Size
  27. 27. Having established what you need, you can then evaluate whether or not the skills are easily available to your organisation, what it will cost, and subsequently whether or not procuring them is likely to be a feasible option. Readiness Optimal Size
  28. 28. Small and mid-sized social organisations are often structured around a single founder or leader, which can lead to decision bottle-necks. Readiness Decision Making
  29. 29. With only so much time available to any individual, scaling priorities can mean a diversion of attention away from the original endeavour, which often puts not just the impact, but also all existing operations at risk. Readiness Decision Making
  30. 30. The ideal scenario would involve a dedicated team that is able to focus on the planning and set up of any scaling endeavour, with only a high-level involvement of the leader or leadership team. Readiness Decision Making
  31. 31. If this doesn't seem feasible, and you can’t finance an increase in leadership capacity, this again should drive a reconsideration of scaling plans, or change in timeframes to allow for developing internal resources to fill that role. Readiness Decision Making
  32. 32. Scaling often has significant organisational impact, not just on workload, but also on internal hierarchies and expectations. Readiness Resistance to Change
  33. 33. Any activity that changes internal parameters or pushes people and teams out of their comfort zones needs to be carefully managed. Readiness Resistance to Change
  34. 34. It can otherwise result in unexpected and sometimes extreme behaviour, including both intended and unintended sabotage as individuals look to maintain the status quo while things are changing around them. This is known as resistance to change, and is a real and well documented risk. Readiness Resistance to Change
  35. 35. As a leader or founder too, it is important to consider the implications that scaling will have for you, and whether or not it is something you're comfortable with. Readiness Resistance to Change
  36. 36. The best way to manage resistance to change is to put resources towards a decent change-management programme, underpinned by a good internal communications plan. Readiness Resistance to Change
  37. 37. Decisions need to be thought through and benefits carefully communicated to ensure that teams and staff feel supported and engaged, have realistic expectations and are genuinely behind the scaling effort. Readiness Resistance to Change
  38. 38. As you scale you will also learn more about the domain and issue that you are trying to impact. Readiness Knowledge
  39. 39. If you don't have a good knowledge-sharing culture, a lot of this learning will remain isolated. Most commonly, the result is an ongoing reinvention of the wheel with resulting losses in efficiency and effectiveness. Readiness Knowledge
  40. 40. This learning alternatively represents opportunities to drive continual improvement, and consequently refinements and increases in quality of outcomes. Readiness Knowledge
  41. 41. Both factors make it worth investing in managing and sharing knowledge when scaling. Readiness Knowledge
  42. 42. A good place to start is to 1. Make strategic planning and design freely accessible to internal teams 2. Embed ongoing team learning reviews 3. Invest in the systematisation of your model (see section III.Transferability) 4. Set up information repositories to make knowledge easily accessible across your organisation or partner network. Readiness Knowledge
  43. 43. Most small or mid-sized organisations have very basic office level hardware, networking and security, potentially with shared drives, and the primary use of technology is e-mail. These systems can get rapidly overwhelmed when scaling, and are difficult to standardise in terms of working practices. Readiness Technology
  44. 44. On an operational level the key is to check whether your hardware and software have enough spare capacity to accommodate more users and more data, and whether or not they can adapt to different needs or uses as your organisation or network evolves. Readiness Technology
  45. 45. Technology can also have great strategic application. Readiness Technology
  46. 46. From the web to partner portals, platforms, intranets and social commerce, technology can be a great enabler for scale. In today's world of ubiquitous mobile access, SMS messaging and apps can also help access and interact with beneficiaries in a wide range of environments. Readiness Technology
  47. 47. It is therefore worth considering and building the costs of technology into your planning, or alternatively managing the rate of scaling in a way that doesn't overwhelm the technical infrastructure that you have. Readiness Technology
  48. 48. Infrastructure implications should have been factored into your choice of scaling pathway already, but at this stage it warrants a deeper analysis to ensure that you aren't putting your organisation at risk of being overwhelmed when scaling. Readiness Infrastructure
  49. 49. Even if your scaling pathway does not explicitly involve organic growth, most scaling efforts do require some form of organisational evolution and increase in size. Readiness Infrastructure
  50. 50. The scale of your ambition and related optimal size may require more physical space to support these changes. Readiness Infrastructure
  51. 51. If you are also planning to enable physical operations in multiple locations, there is a direct implication for physical infrastructure to support that too. Readiness Infrastructure
  52. 52. Physical infrastructure isn't just limited to space. New premises still have to be filled. You will need to consider the costs of fixtures and fittings, furniture and computing hardware, plus any other equipment that your teams need to perform their work or deliver impact. Readiness Infrastructure
  53. 53. The feasibility of raising the finance/funds to enable this increase is a critical factor in an organisation's ability to deliver impact on scale. Readiness Infrastructure
  54. 54. If the costs of organisational readiness seem too high, you could consider sharing and re-use strategies, or limit your scale ambitions to prevent overloading your physical and logistical resources. Readiness
  55. 55. You could also adjust your design to increase the autonomy of partners or local units to reduce the load on your organisation, or simply decide to let others scale your impact for you by making your model replicable and openly available for them to independently use and apply. Readiness
  56. 56. When you have understood what is required to get your organisation and people ready for scaling, you can move on to the final piece of the process, which is to prepare for implementation. Readiness
  57. 57. A guide to the next step of planning and creating roadmaps for implementation is provided in a linked presentation called ... “Implementation at Scale: A Guide for Scaling Social Business” 57 Implementation
  58. 58. ©Rizwan Tayabali, 2014 58