You’re an entrepreneur with an innovative, potentially life-changing product. Next step: Expand and reach your target population.
Easier said than done.
In an article on scaling up social innovation start-ups, Erica Kochi, the co-lead of UNICEF’s Innovation unit, offers three pieces of advice that she believes start-ups need to consider when scaling their projects.
1. Make sure you’re working with the right partners. Who are the right partners? There are five broad categories: Donors and investors, celebrities, the media, private sector, and large NGO’s/international organizations. To successfully grow and spread the word of your innovation, you should be working with partners from at least two to three of these categories.
2. Align with global priorities and funding. Most governments, funders, NGOs, and international development organizations have all aligned their goals with the 2015 Millenium Development Goals. If you’re social innovation startup isn’t aligned with global efforts, chances are that potential partners won’t engage with you. By aligning yourself with the global social agenda, you have the potential to harness your efforts with thousands of peers to bring your startup to scale.
3. Provide proof of impact. It’s simple--data demonstrates value. Proof of impact is often a prerequisite to attracting support and investment into your social venture. Just look at PlayPump--an idea that began as a promising project to encourage children to pump water through an interactive toy-well hybrid, but was ultimately unable to provide credible metrics on impact that indicated any positive uptake and performance.
The bottom line? Innovation needs to proven and approved to successfully expand. Well-balanced, informed decision-making and a touch of creativity can mean the difference between success and failure in the world of socially-minded, innovative startups.