Don’t Grow For Growth’s Sake: Smart Growth For Social Enterprises
Friday, September 19, 2014
By Kim Syman
“How small can I stay, while still driving big, transformative impact?” It’s an exciting question some social entrepreneurs are now asking themselves as they consider how to turn a good idea into a scalable solution.
Organizations–and their leaders–are faced daily with choices about how to use their time and energy, and experience real trade-offs between focusing those assets on the direct growth of their service or program or on strategies for wide-spread change, like driving shifts in public policy or building partnerships with established large institutions that can serve as distributors. Only the latter type of activity enables impact at scale, but to pursue it, organizations have to have built sufficient evidence of results and replicability via direct growth. The questions of how much direct growth, in what kinds of markets, with what kinds of populations, are complex. Social entrepreneurs who once might have responded “as much as possible, everywhere that’s possible” are now answering growth questions in more sophisticated ways that rebalance the direct growth and scaled impact equation.