GETTING STARTED WITH IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE

An Information Guide for professionals Brought To You By ACJI

WHAT IS IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE?

Implementation Science is a set of research-informed activities that put a policy, program, or practice of known dimensions into play. The results are reliable and sustainable over time.

Implementation Science is widely used in public health and education, and is becoming more prevalant in other industries where systemic changes are part of the job.

THE PROCESS

  • Focuses on building effective teams
  • Builds a roadmap for organizations to improve outcomes
  • Increases organizational resilience 
  • Shows you how to measure progress
  • Helps your organization become a learning organization
  • Creates new energy around old efforts
  • Fosters sustainable and positive outcomes

With ACJI, You Can Empower Yourself, Your Team, and Your Organization To Apply Implementation Science To Initiatives In The Justice Field

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IMPLEMENTATION FAILS?

It's a culture problem

When an implementation effort fails, it’s expensive. It’s also a disappointment for those who were hoping to benefit from the anticipated changes. But even more important for justice organization leaders, failure can lead to a serious staff morale challenge.

It’s not uncommon to see staff burnout, disengagement, and cynicism. The feeling is “that nothing works to make real change.” This leads to turnover and even more failed implementation efforts.

Organizational culture is a critical component of implementation science, one we often cover in our quarterly webinars. Click the button to learn more.

WHAT GETS IN THE WAY OF SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION?

Hover For Classic examples of roadblocks to implementation

NEED FOR SPEED

There is pressure to get things done quickly, whether to bring forth better outcomes or meet the needs of critical stakeholders. This can cause you to skip important steps or ditch efforts for the new and shiny thing.

HEAVY WORKLOADS

A busy schedule and a heavy workload pulls your focus in all directions. Without focus, you end up stuck working “in” the organization putting out fires rather than working “on” the organization to build capacity.

COMPETING INTERESTS

As programs grow, so do the number of priorities that compete for time, resources, and attention. Without careful attention, this type of slow drift can result in misalignments, disengagement, and poor outcomes.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE

Organizational culture impacts everything you do, including the change process. Habits, processes, and mindsets are not primed for change. Without intentional focus, your culture will eat strategy.

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS

New law and legislative mandates force change whether or not your organization has the capacity, resources, or buy-in of staff.

LEADERSHIP TURNOVER

When leadership changes so do priorities. Implementation efforts can fade away or collapse. Without a sustainable implementation infrastructure and team, staff may become disengaged or cynical of new efforts.

WHY CHOOSE IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE?

Top 3 reasons For Justice organizations

  • Further Reform Efforts

    We all want the justice system to work better. Tackle the work in a way that is proven to succeed.

  • Improve Staff Morale

    When initiatives succeed, the work feels worthwhile AND the energy to complete stale work is revived.

  • Become An Adaptive Leader

    Get back to the reason you started this career in the first place. Capitalize on your strengths and create systems to fill in the blanks.

FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPTS IN IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE

And Their Meanings

You’ll often hear these terms in Implementation Science circles. Here’s how they apply.

ALIGNMENT

When values and goals align with actions, it’s far more likely the results will be as you you intended. 

APPRECIATIVE

A commitment to looking for possibilities when faced with challenges.

CO-ELEVATE

A commitment to adopting solutions that elevate the many over the few.

IMPACT

The affect your actions produce. Is it positive or negative? Is it measurable? (We hope so.)

 

 

FIDELITY

Did things turn out the way you intended? Is it replicable? If the results are true, it’s fidelity.

TOOLS

A device you can hold in your hands or in your mind to create an outcome.

SUGAI’S LAW

For every one new thing you ask someone to do, take two things off their plate.

THE ‘WHY’

Not just your why, but the why of your agency and your staff. These are the things that people spend their time doing, and how it connects with the hoped-for impact.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 'CHANGE MANAGEMENT' AND 'CHANGE LEADERSHIP'

An Important Distinction

Change management implies that change is something to be controlled. It involves senior leaders managing both the change and the people involved.

Change leadership advances knowledge. Learnings from teams and emerging leaders is shared in an ongoing fashion. Both senior leaders and staff apply the principles and practices of implementation science.

Organizational outcomes perfectly reflect the habits and beliefs of the individuals within them. If you want to improve outcomes, you could try to force it with management or you could apply implementation science, practically-derived and empirically-supported principles of organizational change leadership.

HERE'S HOW IT CAN WORK IN YOUR JUSTICE AGENCY OR COMMUNITY-LED REENTRY ORGANIZATION

ACJI'S Infinite Implementation Roadmap

1.

GET FOCUSED

Assemble your team and assess your strengths, challenges, and goals. It’s time to see what is working and what is getting in the way of your best outcomes.

2.

GET OUTSIDE EYES TO ASSESS THE PROBLEM

Create a listening ecosystem to get to the heart of the problem you are trying to solve. You need feedback to see results.

3.

UNCOVER VALUES AND CREATE A VISION

A compelling values-driven vision will anchor your plans and actions. Aligning implementation efforts with this vision makes positive outcomes more likely.

4.

APPLY IMPLEMENTATION SCIENCE

The implementation team begins applying science-driven implementation tools, which serve to measure your progress.

5.

SEE THE RESULTS

Instead of trying the same strategies over and over again, implementation science keeps you focused on the highest impact strategies so that the results are evident.

6.

INFINITE IMPLEMENTATION

Implementation is not only about starting new things, but creating a learning organization that is engaged in on-going process improvements. Soon you'll be able to adapt to quickly changing contexts.

DON'T LEAVE CHANGE TO CHANCE

ATTEND THE IMPLEMENTATION LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

Leaders working in justice agencies and community-led reentry organizations attend ACJI’s Implemenation Leadership Academy to learn the essential principles of Implementation Science Leadership and how you can deploy the science to further your reform efforts, improve staff morale, and enjoy your work more.

Whether you come alone or with a team, this is an opportunity to systemize change efforts in a way that is grounded in data and in science.

Learn for experts about what works when leading change in organizations. Don’t leave change to chance!

ON THE ACJI BLOG

More About Implementation Science As It Applies To Criminal Justice Leaders