Over the past decade, the field of digital development exploded in areas such as agriculture, education, and financial services. In fact, GSMA estimates that the number of these solutions increased from under 400 in 2009 to over 1,500 in 2015. As the field grew, so did the desire to transition from pilots to sustainable large-scale implementations that would increase efficiency and effectiveness of the products and services delivered. Many excellent resources existed conveying the important lessons learned by practitioners in designing, developing, and implementing such digital solutions.
However, what was scarcer was information about the questions and choices that practitioners faced at the four-to-five-year mark, when large-scale programs were trying to reach more users or provide new offerings to achieve sustainability. A separate set of challenges confronted organizations at this point, including strategic, commercial, legal, and technical barriers that could require significant adaptation or modification. As organizations around the globe managed these transitions, a unique opportunity existed to draw on their knowledge and key insights as well as provide pragmatic how-to guidance for maturing digital solutions and programs. DIAL 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 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 was structured so it can be read as a whole or in parts. Each module offered 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 were linked throughout and provided actionable “How To” tips to help readers apply the guidance in their own work.