Unit 1 – Refine the business model

There are different approaches for scaling an innovation. The choice of one path or another depends on the nature of the innovation, the resources available and whether and how the social innovator wishes to involve new partners. Go through the social business canvas model presented in module 2 with the Social Innovator so he / she can rethink the key resources, partners / stakeholders, and key activities to be scaled. Thus you will help him / her choose the best channels / models for delivering the innovation.


BENISI Scaling Guide provides a nice overview of the process of scaling and several examples for the application of different models which you can use with your clients.

  • DISSEMINATION – Actively providing information, and sometimes technical assistance, to others (organisations, individuals, institutions, business) looking to bring an innovation to their community.

Although the disseminating organisation/ innovation team has little control over the implementation of the innovation in new locations, this mechanism is the simplest and the least resource intensive. Dissemination is an appropriate approach for promoting the Social Innovation and its intellectual property widely, to people and organisations who might want to use them.

Advantage: Less expensive compared to other methods.

Disadvantage: Lose control. For further information, you can access: Scaling Trasnformative Change

  • AFFILIATION – A formal relationship defined by an ongoing agreement between two or more parties to be part of an identifiable network. Affiliate networks range from a loose coalition of organizations committed to the same goals, to tighter systems operating similar to business franchises. Affiliate agreements may have general or specific guidelines governing areas such as use of a common brand name, program content, funding responsibilities, and reporting requirements.
  • FRANCHISING – This is a specific scaling model which is characterised by tight control of operations and the requirement to pay set fees. More information is available on the following links:
  • BRANCHING – In broad sense it comprises in creating multiple offices in different locations. This option offers the greatest potential for central coordination and generally requires the greatest investment of resources by the central organisation. Branch structures are particularly attractive when successful implementation of the innovation is based on:
    • tight quality control;
    • specific practices;
    • knowledge that is not explicitly documented or readily communicated;
    • strong organisational cultures.

However, branch organisations are not always highly centralized and can allow significant local autonomy and adaptation of the innovation to the local specifics.

Advantage: Maximised control.

Disadvantage: More expensive because of the need of buying or leasing additional facilities and equipment, hiring and training additional staff.

It is clear from the informational materials provided in the current unit that there are different Scaling models with their specificities and applicability. You can test your understanding of the materials as completing the following tasks:

For further reference you can access: Pathways to Social Impact: Strategies for Scaling Out Successful Social Innovations

And Scaling Social Impact: Strategies for Spreading Social Innovations

Make a table, which consists of rows referring to each scaling model, and

columns for outlining the specific features of each scaling model, such as: Stakeholders; Applicability, Creating new organization (Yes/No); Relevant national legislation; Relevant institutions, etc. Fill in the table.

Create a scheme to outline the steps to be undertaken, in order to implement the chosen model. For your convenience, you can use Mind map tool.

A potential social innovator has a socially innovative concept to be scaled up.

Which of the scaling models would you chose for the purpose of scaling up the concept? Why?

Have a look at

Mind map tool