Over the past decade, the field of digital development has exploded in areas such as agriculture, education, and financial services. In fact, GSMA estimates that the number of these solutions has increased from under 400 in 2009 to over 1,500 in 2015. As the field has grown, so has the desire to transition from pilots to sustainable large-scale implementations that increase efficiency and effectiveness of the products and services delivered. Many excellent resources exist conveying the important lessons learned by practitioners in designing, developing, and implementing such digital solutions.
However, what is scarcer is information about the questions and choices that practitioners face at the four-to-five-year mark, when large-scale programs may be trying to reach more users or provide new offerings to achieve sustainability. A separate set of challenges confront organizations at this point, including strategic, commercial, legal, and technical barriers that may require significant adaptation or modification. As organizations around the globe manage these transitions, a unique opportunity exists to draw on their knowledge and key insights as well as provide pragmatic how-to guidance for maturing digital solutions and programs. DIAL has partnered with Vital Wave, BBC Media Action, Esoko, and the Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative to fill this information gap with Beyond Scale, a new guide designed for country-based NGOs and early-stage digital technology companies planning their next stage of growth.
Beyond Scale contains seven modules, organized by thematic topics such as program strategy and business models, and is structured so it can be read as a whole or in parts. Each module offers a series of key steps brought to life by real-world examples from digital development organizations working towards scale and sustainability. Useful tools and templates are linked throughout and provide actionable How To tips to help readers apply the guidance in their own work. If your digital development organization is looking to replicate or diversify its programs to achieve sustainability and you want to understand the successes and failures of other digital development organizations, then Beyond Scale is for you.