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Scaling pilots changes everything. How can we predict its effects?

In this age of innovation and tight fiscal environments, governments need to know how to pilot programs that can then be scaled successfully. This article provides an insight into Yale Research which looks at how to maximise the success of scaling up pilots. Read the introduction below or the full Apolitical article here.

Extract: Intro: Policy makers at all levels know what it’s like to watch a scheme that’s have done well at pilot stage fail to succeed when scaled up. What works for 30 children in Loughborough may not work for 1000 in Lagos. Or even London.

That’s not because the ideas were poor in the first place, or because the pilots themselves were poorly run, but because scale affects projects in different ways and as such needs a different evaluative approach.

Scale affects how projects perform in part because the size of a project will change its impact fundamentally, but also because different cultures, geographies and economies will react to the same project in different ways. And scaling projects aimed at kids comes with particular challenges, from getting subjects’ consent to finding your audience.

But there’s no point experimenting if your results aren’t likely to be useful. So how can governments nail evaluations that better predict success at scale?