In business, we often hear the assumption that success = scale. “To be a successful business, you need an unquestioned desire for scale and growth”. This challenges some of the paradigms of success we experience in teaching.
I often refer to the idea of scale when thinking about the development and implementation of ideas. In new schools, the realities of scale are growing enrolments, more classes and more staff. Designing for rapid change in a school setting is a complex challenge.
“Do things that don’t scale” is a guiding concept for me because it challenges me to assess for authenticity, validity and originality first.
Does it feel like the right thing to do?
Years ago, I saw a story about how Airbnb inducts new staff by sending them on holiday to stay at an Airbnb, of course! That idea does not scale easily and may seem on paper to be a non-starter. More recently, I connected with the essay about startups from Paul Graham, linked below.
Here he clarifies a better approach to the way we think of startup ideas.
The need to do something unscalably laborious to get started is so nearly universal that it might be a good idea to stop thinking of startup ideas as scalars. Instead we should try thinking of them as pairs of what you’re going to build, plus the unscalable thing(s) you’re going to do initially to get the company going.
Some specific actions we might take from this: (a) Explore ideas that do and do not scale, (b) Use handcrafted ideas for initial testing © Build in scaleable features that help the idea stick and stick around.