How many health workers will get transferred to other jobs and get replaced by the time a new cancer prevention protocol is rolled out? How many teachers will retire and handover to new teachers by the time a new way of teaching math is implemented? Will the knowledge of many farm extension workers become obsolete before it is put to use?
Samuel Huntington, a Harvard political scientist, argued in the 1960s that the challenge in developing countries is ‘rapidly changing societies’, where people’s expectations grow much faster than our ability to satisfy them. This challenge has grown with advancements in communication technologies. Our challenges expand faster than our response. Our problems grow faster than our solutions. Our ideas grow faster than our ability to implement them at scale.
I often wonder, ‘How to scale solutions that can serve the needs of a population?’ Perhaps that is an incomplete question. I may need to design solutions that can scale with speed so that the response can emerge faster than the rapidly evolving needs. I may need to shift from making big and slow changes for a few to making small and fast changes with most.