Ideas & Insights Scaling Innovations in Development: The Experience of IDB...

Scaling Innovations in Development: The Experience of IDB Lab

Working Paper

May 1st 2023


To read online in English, click here. Spanish, click here.

Abstract: The approach to scaling up innovations in development is broken due to insufficient skills and funding for intermediation. Intermediation involves the essential technical assistance required by organizations and projects to achieve scale, such as strategic planning, convening, and coordinating stakeholders, and investment packaging. This report derives lessons on how to effectively scale innovations in development through an analysis of 39 IDB Lab projects and approximately 100 interviews. It proposes adhering to four principles for enhancement: establishing a consistent and systematic definition of scale, measuring success based on the maturity of the solution, acknowledging, and fostering the intermediation function, and investing in agile tracking while learning from errors. By implementing these strategies, development organizations can seamlessly incorporate scaling up innovation into their operations.

Lab is the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It promotes early-stage entrepreneurial innovations that empower poor and vulnerable populations in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2022, Imago worked with the IDB Lab to enrich and further refine their concept of scale, Identify scale success factors and conditions in the current IDB Lab portfolio to learn from and co-develop an implementable approach to assess scalability of projects and improve scaling metrics throughout their lifecycle.

This report was originally published by IDB Lab and can be viewed and downloaded on their website here.