Principles for Design & Development

Community Insights on Principle 3: Design for Scale

icon-principle3On October 27, 2014, JSI hosted an event on the third Principle for Digital Development, Design for Scale.  The session covered designing for scale from the very start, considering implications of design beyond the immediate project, and designing solutions that are replicable and customizable in other countries and contexts. Featured speakers include Kate Wilson, Director of Digital Health Solutions, PATH, Marion McNabb, Senior Technical Advisor for mHealth, Pathfinder International, Sarah Andersson, Technical Manager, JSI.

Highlights of the discussion are captured below.  Does this content resonate with you? Are there aspects of the discussion that you would modify? Join the discussion using the comments section on this page.

  • Identify what “scale” means in the context of your project, acknowledging that the term can mean different things to different people.
  • In defining what scale means for your project, consider factors such as: geographic reach; number of active users; and institutionalization of tools and/or related processes among user groups, such as the host government.
  • Ask whether and what kind of scale is appropriate for your project.
  • To generate the demand necessary to move a product to scale, design collaboratively with local experts and partners, and identify user preferences.
  • Align Information and Communications Technology (ICT) interventions to existing business processes and workflows to avoid increasing the user’s workload.
  • Consider what inputs and components of a supporting ecosystem are required to grow a project from an initial intervention to impact at scale.
  • Understand the partners, including the local private sector, whose collaboration and buy-in will be necessary for long-term project viability.
  • Understand and attempt to align motives for various partners involved in scaling.
  • Ask what resources and capacity are needed to be able to finance and manage scale over time.
  • Consider adapting existing, open source solutions or using off-the-shelf products instead of starting from scratch.
  • Use standards to ensure that data from the intervention can be integrated and interpreted by the appropriate players as it moves from pilot to scale.
  • Consider how to measure adoption and utility, and how these measurements may change as the intervention moves to scale.
  • Be open to adaptation and iteration of a concept to reach scale; demonstrate impact but don’t try to perfect the intervention before it is deployed on an initial small scale.
  • Think through potential unintended consequences or outcomes.

You can also download a PDF of the Community Discussion document here.

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