Strengthening Implementation Drivers: Building Capacity for New Ways of Work

Room: Olmsted 1-3

How many good ideas remain untapped at community organizations in human services? How many well-intentioned change initiatives never come to fruition because there wasn’t enough funding, or because staff were never fully “bought-in” to the change, or because unanticipated challenges cropped up, taking focus and energy away from the change initiative at hand?

Unfortunately, there is likely a far greater number of good ideas, including those pertaining to new ways of work at organizations, than there are examples of those good ideas being routinized into the daily work of organizations across the human services sector. Part of the reason for this gap is simply the difficulty of any complex change process – even small changes can be hard to accomplish. Another part of the reason is a blindspot in organizational understanding connecting what is done at the “frontline” of work to the organizational realities that inhibit or facilitate those frontline efforts.

But the growing field of Implementation Science offers insight into why change efforts fail to make a lasting impact, as well as how to structure change to ensure its sustainability and impact. An implementation science concept known as the Active Implementation Drivers offers a lens for assessing the degree to which new ways of work are taken up throughout an organization. They give leadership the language and wherewithal to identify barriers to the many change-processes attendant to quality improvement, and to address these barriers with greater intention and specificity.

The implementation drivers are:

Competency Drivers – Selection; Training; Coaching
Organization Drivers – Systems Intervention; Facilitative Administration; Decision Support Data System
Leadership Drivers – Technical; Adaptive

With improved understanding and application of the implementation drivers, organizations can move from “letting change happen” to “making change happen. And viewing organizational outcomes from the perspective of the sustainability and scalability of change efforts allows an organization to address issues of organizational capacity with greater precision and to greater success, by adjusting organizational functioning to be more facilitative of achieving fidelity in the use of specific innovations.

Ultimately, this perspective makes a greater impact on client outcomes, because without practice fidelity, client level outcomes will be harder to monitor and achieve.

The session will outline the active implementation drivers (above) and give participants a chance to identify their own strengths and areas for improvement in relation to the drivers. Ultimately, participants will be able to plan for changes that need to be made within their organization to facilitate practice fidelity so that organizational sustainability and reliability can be achieved.


Peggy McElgunn, Esq

President/CEO , Proven Quality Practices


Zachary McElgunn

VP Education , Proven Quality Practices


Kurt Jensen

VP Communications , Proven Quality Practices