Social Entrepreneurship blogger Nathaniel Whittemore's had a post which has been sitting in my draft box for some time. It was on a comparison of Scale vs. Diffusion. His focus was about how to "scale" social sector innovation, and whether "diffusion" might be a more useful idea.
He followed up with another post on Understanding Scale. There is a great deal of interesting insights in the comments sections of both posts. This brings this blogging effort full circle returning to concept of "Creative Destruction" in my first blog which lead me along the path to where I find myself today. Also touches upon "Disruptive Innovation" from earlier in this blog. The concept of in-bound marketing is now taking root in empowering people.
The response to the post demonstrated a nerve was hit and that many social entrepreneurs are thinking hard about how to reevaluate the notion of "scale." It has taken me some time to get my head around it and I will be coming back to these concepts. In very simplistic terms, scaling is bricks and diffusion is water. Use both and you can turn grain into bread. Here is a quick bullet list, more at the original posts.
- Comment Theme #1 - Finally, "Scale" Isn't Sacrosanct:
- Comment Theme #2 - Affirmation of Local Context: Diffusion necessarily gives local context a stronger hand in adapting an innovation to meet a particular and discreet set of needs.
- Comment Theme #3 - Mind Shift, Not Resource Increase: Foundations still had a potentially vital role fostering the ecosystems in which innovation could diffuse across networks, and that a mindset shift was more important than any sort of resource increase.
- Comment Theme #4 - Institutional Scale Still Matters: A final point was that the "diffusion" mindset doesn't entirely supplant our notion of scale as much as supplements it.
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