Context and “confounders” lie at the very heart of the diffusion, dissemination, and implementation of complex innovations. They are not extraneous to the object of study; they are an integral part of it
Trisha Greenhalgh and colleagues, 2004 Diffusion of innovations in service organisations
Here you will find the UK-IS event archives. Details of past events are listed along with any slides, handouts and abstracts etc.
UK-IS members are free to reuse these materials, but please acknowledge the author and source, and indicate if changes have been made.
UK-IS Journal Club 2021
In 2021 UK-IS launched the Journal Club, a hosted series of 45 minute discussions each focused on a selected article, report or other publication. All the pieces reflected implementation issues, but over the series we varied the selection across topics, sectors, levels of complexity and different perspectives.
29th June 2021
Prof. Annette Boaz
A refined compilation of implementation strategies: results from the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) project
Powell BJ, Waltz TJ, Chinman MJ, Damschroder LJ, Smith JL, Matthieu MM, Proctor EK, Kirchner JE
A thorough review of the wide range of implementation strategies in common use.
This research reported in this paper aimed to improve the conceptual clarity, relevance, and comprehensiveness of implementation strategies that can be used in isolation or combination in implementation research and practice. It maps out the 73 strategies more commonly used to promote implementation, based on a methodology for building consensus among experts.
27th April 2021
Dr. Deborah Ghate
Lessons from complex interventions to improve health.
Penelope Hawes (2015) Annual Review of Public Health 36:307-23
A classic paper on complexity, complex systems and challenges for implementation and research
Thoughtful, richly informative and challenging article by Penny Hawes relevant for implementation in all public service sectors (not just health). In the paper the author reflects on how the nature of complex interventions and complex system settings requires us to think differently about methods and terminologies in standard usage.
Implementation Week 2021
Slides and other resources from events that took place as part of UK Implementation week 2019.
The professional field of implementation research and support continues to grow and develop across the world, with operational and research job titles increasingly embracing the term ‘implementation’. Across the UK and in Ireland, implementation roles are also beginning to proliferate vary in scope and content. Apart from Implementation Societies and Networks, there are no overarching bodies that represent those working in implementation-focused roles, and there are no common understandings of the professional or scientific standards to which implementation professionals should work to. This raises questions about what it means to be ‘an implementation professional’ today. Where is the field headed, and what opportunities and challenges are encountered by those who work in it?
As part of Implementation Week 2021, UK-IS members and guests, including colleagues from the Implementation Network of Ireland and Northern Ireland, contributed to a highly topical and important discussion as they took stock of the state of the field.
They discussed questions including:
How well-recognised is ‘implementation’ as a professional field of practice, leadership and study in the UK and Ireland?
What does it feel like to be in one of the many new roles with ‘implementation’ (or improvement) in the job title? What is involved, and how is (or should) the job be different from other job roles in multi-disciplinary teams?
What are (or should be) the skills, competencies, and values of implementation professionals?
What should the field generally and employers specifically be doing to support established personnel and new career entrants in implementation roles?
The UK-IS Implementation Debate
Tuesday 13th July 2021
Implementation in Real Life
Wednesday 14th July 2021
UK-IS Vice-Chair Dr Tom Jefford shared details of a piece of applied research he undertook, as part of his doctoral research, into implementation in local authorities. This research was of particular interest to those working in local authorities as well as within systems and organisations, and shared insights on how to sustain evidence based programmes.
In 2008 10 new Multi Systemic Therapy sites were established in England. This research re-visited three sites over 5 years later to find out what had happened.
Using implementation science approaches and a grounded theory methodology this study sought to understand the real world experience of implementation of an evidence based intervention in Local Authority settings with all of the organisational and system challenges that this presents.
Lessons for implementation, leadership, organisations and threats are discussed as the three sites experienced varied outcomes from closure to success and sustainment.
UK-IS Reflect & Refuel Discussion Series
During the pandemic in 2020, UK-IS hosted a series of short hosted discussions around some of the pressing topics of that time and how they relate to effective implementation practice and science
What happens to stakeholder engagement and user or patient involvement in the context of rapid or crisis-related work?
28th May 2020
How can we identify, record, profile and assess the effectiveness of innovative practice in response to Covid-19 (especially where it has subverted usual processes and practices)? How can we capture its active ingredients? How much pandemic-related innovation could be sustainable and scalable?
4th June 2019
In implementation science theory and literature, leadership has been identified repeatedly as an important implementation driver. But what kind of leadership (so-called systems leadership, command and control leadership, compassionate leadership, adaptive leadership, technical leadership etc) and what attributes of leadership have been most effective (or most needed) during this unprecedented crisis?
11th June 2020
How are practitioners and managers in front-line services actually using implementation science or know-how in the current environment?
18th June 2020
On June 18th, UK-IS Board member Emma Ross, mental health nurse and Programme Manager in Leeds Children and Family services with responsibility for a range of MST services as well as several innovation projects, hosted an R&R session on front line practice and implementation science learning, during the pandemic.
Here are just a few of the themes that emerged for Emma from the discussion, (not necessarily in order of importance):
It was clear that many services in many different places are facing the same/similar challenges around how to do their work effectively at the moment – have we thought enough about how implementation science can help?
The constraints of the current social distancing rules create new barriers to evidence based work ‘as usual’ - and most particularly to building effective relationship based work
There is huge pressure across services to ‘do’ new and different things in response to the crisis without any clear understanding, planning or reviewing
How working in an emotionally–charged and driven response system may not easily align with rational or logical or planned approaches – how can we build this in to the usual ‘science-based’ approach of IS?
Members are worrying about the cost implications of the COVID crisis and that some good services are now potentially at risk of decommissioning as the need to save costs grows (all the more so since some thought that costs had barely been considered in the initial response to the crisis, so a time of reckoning post-Covid was imminent)
...But at the same time (never waste a good crisis!), some thought that decommissioning processes offer a definite opportunity to apply an IS-lens, possibly for the first time in some services
Some observed that where teams already had some grounding in IS, teams were much more likely to try and make sense of events and processes, and more likely to slow down the ‘doing’ process just enough to incorporate a more planful, evidence-grounded approach in the midst of the crisis response. This was proving to be both ‘containing’ and ‘focusing’ for workers under stress.
Perhaps that’s a main contribution of an IS approach - the drive to analyse and understand what’s happening, and to ask why, and how existing knowledge can help - even when work is being done under exceptional pressure and at exceptional speed. We hope so!
So participants thought there was definitely an increased role for implementation science as we come out of the COVID-19 period – but we wondered how to capitalise on this most powerfully?
How has (or hasn’t?) knowledge and evidence from the field of implementation science been mobilised in responses across services and settings during the Covid-19 crisis?
25th June 2020
Board member Dr Tom Jefford, director at Family Psychology Mutual based in Cambridge hosted one of our Reflect and Refuel (R&R) sessions on-line on June 25th. Some of the themes captured by Tom from the discussion included:
The challenge for implementation science has been to respond quickly to a rapidly changing landscape.
However the use of evidence and the application of implementation principles derived from evidence can be achieved in real time, not least if it is done in simplified form
The Covid-19 crisis has led to innovation but also significant waste of resources through poor procurement, resources being deployed in the wrong place or through poor planning
In a period of crisis we may change our stance on the normal checks and balances on leadership and governance, and may relax or apply them differently - but this is time limited before dissent rises
Many relationships between central government, public health and local authorities have been strained through lack of communication, clarity of roles and false assumptions about capacity
It remains the case that writing guidance and then sending it out to schools/ businesses/ health services etc is not the end of the task for effective implementation! This does not mean that successful implementation will then follow
Implementation science can and should be articulating a vision of processes and models which would reduce inefficiency and deliver faster results, even in times when resources are stretched and speed is of the essence
In the post Covid period what innovations will be retained and embedded? The rapid adoption of many innovations such as tele medicine and online working are likely to transform many services
During the Covid-19 global crisis, the need to respond rapidly and effectively to many different co-occurring and equally pressing needs during the pandemic has highlighted – possibly never before so clearly – how whole systems interact to create implementation challenges as well as opportunities. Has the pandemic made us think any differently about cross-systemic implementation, given the multiple levels at which responses have to be made?
2nd July 2020
What practical use have formal implementation theories and frameworks been during the crisis? Could they help us exit the crisis more gracefully than we entered? Have they helped us focus more clearly on the right targets?
9th July 2020
The final R&R session was hosted by Board member Professor Nick Sevdalis on 9th July and focused on the role and use of ‘formal’ theory in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. We asked whether formal implementation theory has been used? And if yes, has it been useful? Can it help us learn lessons from the pandemic response?
Points arising out of the discussion included:
Use of theory is arguably a function of how prepared and ready organisations were to apply it: in some settings, where staff are used to applying theory to their work, such preparedness and confidence in applying theory was present and thus facilitated theory applications better than in settings where theory use has been historically rare
Whether theory use was useful remains to be proven: in many settings, the outcomes of theory application will be sown in subsequent evaluations, which are yet to take place or conclude
Successful theory use does not necessarily use a linear path of theory-derived hypotheses to be tested (as in traditional academic work). Theory can be used to inform practice in a dynamic, often non-linear manner – some of the discussants suggested that this is the most helpful application of theory that they have experienced
A distinction was drawn between ‘big theory’ and ‘programme theory’: the latter has been a better-used approach in some setting (both in health and social care) than the former, as it is more intuitive and involves stakeholders
The discussants debated how much implementation practitioners and scientists have advocated for the use of theory during the pandemic and whether further advocacy is needed by individuals and organisations (such as UK-IS) in the future
The session concluded that a reflection on the use of theory with peers from different sectors (e.g., social and health care, practice and academia) is useful and should continue in the future as organisations move from crisis response to recovery mode
Implementation Week 2019
Slides and other resources from events that took place as part of UK Implementation week 2019.
Implementation Science - a beginners guide!
Monday 15th July 2019
An introduction to the key ideas and concepts of Implementation Science – perfect for anyone working (or researching) in services for people, who is hearing about ‘implementation science’ and wonders what it all means and how it is relevant to their own work. More ...
A beginners guide!
Implementing Evidence in Practice - Grab the Tiger by the Tail!
Friday 19th July 2019
A practical workshop for practitioners, managers and researchers - focused on teaching the basics of practice change and providing tools for implementation learning and planning using experiential learning. Led by Melanie Barwick (SickKids Hospital and University of Toronto), and Jacquie Brown, an international implementation specialist, participants were guided through a highly interactive day of learning through discussion and play, supported by Melanie’s latest implementation learning and planning tool, The Implementation Game, which took participants through real world implementation scenarios. More ...
Implementing Evidence in Practice. Grab the Tiger by the Tail!
Implementation Journeys from the North
Slides and other resources from the symposium event at the University of York , May 2nd 2018.
Blending Improvement Methodologies - Better Start Bradford
Dr Nimarta Dharni -
Better Start Bradford
An introduction to co-creation: Allison Metz
Allison Metz’s presentation to the Network on May 22 2015, London: An introduction to co-creation.