Scaling Impact: Innovation for the Public Good

This book, written by Robert McLean (IDRC) and John Gargani (Gargani + Company), presents actionable principles that can help organizations and innovators design, manage, and evaluate scaling strat­egies. It is available as a free PDF download, as well as to purchase.

This resource and the following information was contributed by Chelsea Madryga.

Authors and their affiliation

  • Robert McLean senior program specialist in Policy and Evaluation at IDRC. He led the Scaling Science exploration, which underpins this book.   
  • John Gargani is founder and president of Gargani + Company, Inc. based in Berkeley, California. He is past-president of the American Evaluation Association.

Year of publication 


Type of resource

  • Guide

Key features

From the abstract:

"Scaling Impact introduces a new and practical approach to scaling the positive impacts of research and innovation. Inspired by leading scientific and entrepreneurial innovators from across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East, this book presents a synthesis of diversity and grounded ingenuity. The result is a different perspective on how to achieve impact that matters, and an important challenge to the predominant ‘bigger-is-better’ paradigm of scaling."

The four guiding principles that the authors propose are:

  1. Moral justification
  2. Inclusive coordination
  3. Optimal scale
  4. Dynamic evaluation

Who is this resource useful for?

  • Advocates for evaluation;
  • Commissioners/managers of evaluation;
  • Evaluation users;
  • Evaluators;
  • Those involved in evaluation capacity strengthening;

How have you used or intend on using this resource?

The principles presented in this book would be useful for organisations and innovators who are trying to design, manage, and evaluate scaling strategies to address complex social problems.

Why would you recommend it to other people?

This book is a practical toolkit for all who are interested in a new, creative, and scientific approach to scaling up research impact. There is a good high-level, brief summary of the scaling principles outlined in the book, for those who may not have time to delve into the full publication: Scaling Science.


McLean, R. Gargani, J., (2019). Scaling Impact: Innovation for the Public Good. International Development Research Centre. Routledge. Retrieved from:

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Resource Suggested By
Research Award Recipient , International Development Research Centre .
Ottawa, Canada.


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