Going to scale

SOURCE: Flickr user barbourians

This week, I’m part of an Americans for the Arts blog salon on the question of ‘scaling up,’ essentially about making programs in the arts available to more people in more places through project models that can accommodate such growth. Getting ‘to scale’ is an essential element in the venture capital world, where you invest in a good idea and a good team, test early and often with end users, then open the system or service to large volumes of users to rake in the cash.

My post makes an effort to define what ‘scaling up’ actually means, and how it might mean something useful to the arts. Short answer: scaling strategies are interesting and sometimes useful, under specific circumstances and in response to certain problems.

The challenge we always face in the arts, it seems, is our enthusiasm for answers absent specific questions. Whether it’s scale, business type, revenue model, merger, collaboration, or a dozen other potential approaches to the world we work in, the point is to understand the problem deeply, understand the tools obsessively, and apply them with craft and cunning and creativity.

More on another such answer tomorrow, the L3C. But in the meanwhile, pour some absinthe, ready your wit, and enjoy the blog salon.