WEvolution is still in the early stage of its development. Not many people know about SRGs. It is necessary to push the innovation to get reluctant people to try it. There is nothing wrong with this. Most innovation starts this way. The problem occurs when the innovator forgets to to advance beyond push.
None of us likes to be told what to do, no matter how good the advice. When members of the Ratio team talked to women in 15 English local authorities about better nutrition for their babies, the loudest appeal was for agencies to stop telling them to breastfeed. (Most of the women we talked to intended to breastfeed, but they didn’t want to be told to do so).
Pushing an innovation into place seldom works. Hectoring, scolding, and mandating often backfire.
To scale impact we have to think in terms of pull. We have to work out how to get women queuing around the block to be part of an SRG. They have to feel as if they are missing out if they don’t get the thing they want.
A “pushed” innovation tends die out as soon as the start-up support is withdrawn.
A “pulled” innovation will gain traction, and spread, and endure.
It is interesting to reflect on innovations that people are desperate to get, even though when it means overcoming some discomfort. When the Ratio team supported the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s work in Pantasma, Nicaragua, mothers were willing to wait in line for hours so that their children could receive the rotavirus vaccine. Engendering the desire to join the queue resulted in 80 percent of children in Nicaragua getting vaccinated against this life-threatening disease.