The scale up toolkit for behaviour change

When we know that a behaviour change intervention has worked in a pilot or trial, how can we scale it up to achieve greater impact and reach?

What is scale up?

Scale up is a deliberate effort 'to increase the impact of innovations successfully tested in pilot or experimental projects to benefit more people'. 

Challenges in scale up

Scale up is often challenging because interventions that work in one context may not work in another. There are several reasons why interventions can fail to work when scaled:

  • External validity and context-bounding: There may be a mismatch between the context in which an intervention is designed or tested, and where it is needed to be implemented.
  • Diminishing returns: The intervention's efficiency reduces over time - evermore resources are required to convert people, for example due to to logistics, or just just to less of the audience being highly receptive.
  • Loss of fidelity: As the intervention is scaled it starts to lose some of the qualities that made it effective.
  • Mobilising commitment to scale: Research commissioners may take a 'wait and see' approach to trials, which can lead to insufficient investment in setting an innovation up for success at scale.
  • Backfire effects: What encourages positive behaviour in one setting reduces positive behaviour in a different setting.

Watch the video to find out more.

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