What’s the “poison pill” that prevents pilots from going to scale?

What’s the “poison pill” that prevents pilots from going to scale? According to scaling expert Larry Cooley, it’s complexity.

We’ve been thinking a lot about how to reduce complexity in order to achieve scale. In fact, “How do we reduce cost and complexity?” is key design question #4 that we explore in our Designing for Scale lab in the accelerator.

We’re big fans of MSI’s Scaling Up Toolkit, which Cooley co-authored.  Check out this great interview clip with Cooley from Devex and the rest of the article here:

The Power of Social Franchising

The Krishi Utsho model got a shout out this week from SEEP and a reblog from Next Billion!

“An innovative microfranchise model called Krishi Utsho (agro source in Bengali) launched by CARE Bangladesh has developed a network over 110 franchisee agro-dealers who serve over 30,000 farmers providing a wide variety of products (medicine, feed, vitamins, machinery, seeds, etc.) coupled with information and agricultural extension services mean a one-stop solution for farmers input supplies. Since the microfranchise network was launched, average milk production has increase by more than 50 percent and is expected to rise as new strains of more productive cattle begin to produce milk. KU conducted an in house survey on four hundred randomly selected farmers to measure its impact. The survey found that farmers’ income increased by 30%, food spending increased by 10%, distance travelled and cost to access input reduced by 50%.”

Check out the original post here for more on the power of social franchising.

Showcasing
One of the most successful franchisees, Saiful Islam Sumon. Mr. Sumon got the team’s attention when he started with one store and then opened two more! The Krishi Utsho team is studying his success to see what they can replicate and scale with other franchisees

 

Meet our Partners: Unreasonable Institute

The Accelerator participants are taking a break during the month of August but our partners are busy creating our next labs.  We’re thrilled to be working with Unreasonable Institute for our next two labs on Business Model Generation (September) and Pitching (October)!

We were going to write a more detailed profile to introduce you to the fantastic Unreasonable staff but this video says it better than we could!

What We’re Reading: Scaling Up Excellence

Another book that helped us think about design question #3 – “What is the optimal fidelity for scale?” – is Scaling Up Excellence, by Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao.

“The first major business book devoted to this universal and vexing challenge” – Amazon

The authors walk us through decades of case studies on how various companies and initiatives found the right place on the continuum of customization versus replication as they scaled.

Continuum

 

My favorite part? This little bit of wisdom:

“Organizations that scale well are filled with people who talk and act as if they are in the middle of a manageable mess.”

The wall of crazy is slowly taking over

Well hey… if office space is a reflection of this sentiment, then maybe the Accelerator is well on its way!

messy office
What exactly were we thinking?

What We’re Learning: What do legos have to do with scaling solutions?

In our Design for Scale lab, design question #3 asks us: “What’s our optimal fidelity for scale?”

What is fidelity? Very simply, it’s the degree of exactness with which something is copied and reproduced.

Why is it important?

Well, in some fields it’s both easy and critical that that the fidelity of an intervention is high. For example, when you’re sick and you take a pill you’re taking the same pill that others who share your diagnosis will take. The dose, timing and other instructions that you receive must be followed in order to get positive results.

Designing an intervention that should be replicated with high fidelity is both necessary and relatively straightforward for many fields. What about development? As we scale, we know that we can’t simply take our exact model and apply it to new geographies, new demographics and new sectors. We know that it won’t work if we don’t adapt.

Conversely, adapt too much or let the model be watered down and we may not be able to get them same positive impact we did in our pilot or the early stages of our programs.

David Butler, VP for Innovation at Coca-Cola, helps one of the world’s largest companies design for scale using a simple framework of determining what elements are “fixed” and which are “flexible.”

Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too)

 

To break it down for us, he uses the analogy of lego bricks. The whole video is great, but for the part on legos start at the 8 minute, 30 second mark and end at 13 minutes, 50 seconds.