The Scaling Community of Practice convened its seventh Annual Workshop from 23 January to 8 February 2023. As with the preceding two Annual Workshops, the 2023 Workshop was held in virtual format. Eleven sessions, each 90 minutes in length, brought together 48 scaling practitioners and experts from a wide range of countries, professions, and sectoral and thematic engagement. The sessions were attended by 924 participants, also from a wide range of geographic and professional backgrounds.
Three of the sessions were held in “plenary format” addressing cross cutting issues. The first plenary session focused on how scaling can be mainstreamed as a systematic practice in funder organizations. The second plenary session explored how digital technologies and solutions can assist the scaling process and what risk they give rise to. The third plenary session concluded the Workshop with an overview of key take aways from the preceding ten sessions and a discussion of the strategic directions of the Scaling Community of Practice.
The three plenary sessions bracketed eight sessions organized by eight sectoral and thematic working groups of the Scaling Community of Practice dealing with scaling experience in education, health, agriculture and food security, climate change, youth employment, social enterprises, fragile states, and monitoring and evaluation. Panelists presented a rich set of specific cases for which they reviewed a wide variety of approach taken to support scaling with many insights into opportunities and challenges presented by a systematic approach to achieving development impact at scale. These sessions also addressed many issues of relevance to each of their area of concentration, but also yielded critical crosscutting insights across the full range of areas covered, including the two issues addressed in the first two plenary sessions.
This Proceedings volume collects detailed summaries for all the eleven sessions of the Workshop in the order in which they were held. The summaries can only scratch the surface of the wealth of information and evidence provided by the panelists and by all participants in the lively discussions which characterized the Workshop. Video recordings of each session in its entirety and PowerPoint slides presented by the panelists can be found on the Annual Workshop page of the Scaling Community’s website.
Rather than trying to summarize our main takeaways from the Workshop we present in the remainder of this introduction a summary of the observations by our esteemed colleague and great expert, entrepreneur and promoter of scaling, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, who witnessed the Workshop and agreed to share her perspective on the rich exchanges in the closing plenary session. Her observations are complemented by the closing comments of Jenny Perlman Robinson, who for many years led a pathbreaking research program on scaling education solutions as a Senior Fellow of the Brookings Center for Universal Education.
We would like to express our deep gratitude to all those who made the Annual Workshop 2023 possible: The chairpersons of the Working Groups, who led the organization of the eight working group sessions; the panelist who share their amazing experience and insights; the many participants who connected to the eight sessions; and the technical team of colleagues at MSI who ably prepared and implemented the virtual delivery of the Workshop.
Larry Cooley (MSI) and Johannes Linn (Brookings)