Mar 14 2019
Scaling Social Businesses Through Design Thinking

The challenges of developing scalable impactful businesses in developing markets are broadly understood and well socialized: limited infrastructure, inefficient distribution, ineffective government systems, unreliable supply chains, and unpredictable regulatory environments all make it difficult to unlock growth. But, there is an inherent tension in addressing these challenges: thoughtful solutions require targeted interventions, while scale requires mass adoption.

The key to unlocking meaningful scale is a hyperlocal understanding of market contexts at both a systems (regulatory, infrastructure, and fiscal) and human level. Easier said than done, when the tools we rely on as investors, development actors, and corporations are generally limited to do both.

SPRING accelerator set out to combine human-centred research with an intensive operational focus to design products, services, and business models that work for people in a developing world context. In partnership with SPRING's businesses, they set out to understand consumer behaviours they are trying to change, the user experiences they are trying to create, stakeholder relationships they rely on, and the competitive and legal contexts in which they operate, all for the end goal of a better product-people fit.

Each of the insights in this brief highlights a market-driven solution that SPRING has seen businesses adopt to overcome barriers to scale. These are not necessarily universally applicable; market contexts and environmental factors are always unique. Ranging in the challenges addressed, conditions leveraged, and tactics employed, what these insights have in common is their reliance on developing a deep understanding of the people involved. This is why design is an approach rather than a discipline, because when people are at the centre, this approach is capable of creating products, services, and businesses that change the world.

Download the report.

SPRING is an accelerator that works with growth-oriented businesses on innovations that can transform the lives of adolescent girls aged 10-19 living across East Africa and South Asia. SPRING is funded by UK Aid, USAID, and Australian Aid, and implemented by Palladium. 

Join us at our annual Palladium Positive Impact Summit: Impact at Scale in New York City on 25 June 2019.