Design and Implementation

Podcasts and Videos

Freakonomics Podcast

EPISODE 405: "Policymaking Is Not a Science (Yet)" (February 12, 2020).
This episode of Freakonomics delves into the reasons why so many promising solutions in many areas of research fail to scale up into great policy. It also shares how implementation science could help move promising small-scale programs to full operation successfully.

Practicing Implementation Podcast

EPISODE 1: "Practicing Implementation(Yet)" (March 2018).
In this episode, Alison Metz and Laura Louison from the National Implementation Research Network discuss the benefits of cocreation approaches. They also discuss the benefits of engaging a range of stakeholders in implementing, improving, and sustaining the use of research evidence to improve outcomes.

Structured LEAN Video

Toyota’s Iteration of the PDCA Cycle Explanatory (n.d).
This video from Structured LEAN walks through the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle of implementation. It explains how Toyota has enhanced the model to meet their needs. The host gives a detailed explanation of each phase of the cycle and its use as a continuous quality improvement loop.


"About the Early Childhood Data Collaborative" (Early Childhood Data Collaborative, n.d.).
This website provides resources on data use, including a collection of case studies about states that are using early childhood education data for continuous improvement.

"Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide:Evaluation and CQI " (State Capacity Building Center, 2019)  This guide introduces a range of evaluation, data and CQI approaches and practices that reflect the richness of these fields. It also provides a deeper exploration of gathering and analyzing information and data about the program or intervention you’re evaluating.

Drivers and Teams

"Implementation Drivers: Action Plan" (State Implementation and Scaling-Up of Evidence-Based Practices Center, 2013).
This tool was created for teams to use in developing an action plan and exploring questions related to each driver. It provides a template for recording and tracking activities, timeframes and responsible parties.

Implementation Drivers: Assessing Best Practices (Karen Blase, Melissa van Dyke, and Dean Fixsen, 2013).
This tool for assessing best practices can be used at any stage in the implementation process.

Implementation Drivers: Team Review and Planning (Melissa Van Dyke, Karen Blase, Barbara Sims, and Dean Fixsen, 2013).
This planning tool is designed to help implementation teams have in-depth discussions about each driver in preparation for action planning. It also identifies best practices.

Federal, State, and Local Initiatives

Confronting the Quiet Crisis: How Chief State School Officers Are Advancing Quality Early Childhood Opportunities (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2012).
Though this document is written for chief state school officers, it addresses questions that state leaders may have as they work to develop strong early childhood programs: How can they make the case for early childhood investments in today’s state budget context? How can they best lead on early childhood education when, in most states, responsibility for managing programs is spread between education, human service, and health agencies and federally managed Head Start and Early Head Start programs? The report highlights leadership in five states: Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.

Early Childhood Iowa (Early Childhood Iowa, n.d.).
This website includes a description of the Early Childhood Iowa initiative and information on local and state system development and Iowa’s early childhood legislation, strategic plan, and state board.

Home Visitation Program Continuous Quality Improvement Plan (Jackie Newson and Katie Oscanyan, 2014).
This document was created for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Home Visitation Program. It provides information about continuous quality improvement (CQI) teams, including the purpose of CQI teams, the roles and responsibilities of state and local CQI team members, data collection and data systems, reporting, CQI methodology, communications, CQI process maps, and Plan-Do-Study-Act examples and worksheets.

Local Systems Building Through Coalitions” (Karen Ponder, 2015).
This chapter, part of the Build Initiative’s e-book, Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families, provides information from eight States that used local coalitions to engage local leaders in expanding their system planning in service of better outcomes for children and families.

Rising to the Challenge: The Strategies of Social Service Intermediaries (Lori Delale-O’Connor and Karen E. Walker, 2012).
This report addresses the valuable role of intermediary organizations within the social service field. It highlights the common challenges they face (such as connecting to larger trends and policies) and the strategies that are being used to resolve them. The report concludes with lessons learned and recommendations that could be used by intermediary organizations as well as their funders and partners.

"Statewide Initiatives: Early Learning Performance Funding Project" (Florida Office of Early Learning, n.d.).
This website includes descriptions of statewide initiatives such as CLASS Program Assessment, developmental screening, and the School-Age Network.

Implementation Science

Active Implementation Hub (National Implementation Research Network, n.d.).
This Web site includes lessons, videos, and a resource library on implementation, including such topics as drivers, teams, and stages.

Measuring Implementation of Early Childhood Interventions at Multiple System Levels (Diane Paulsell, Ann M. Berghout Austin, and Maegan Lokteff, 2013).
This brief discusses the importance of assessing implementation at different levels: national, state, community intermediary, direct service, and recipient (child and family). It includes suggestions for tools to assess implementation at these levels. In addition to implementation strategies and outcomes for each level, two examples of early childhood programs are highlighted (an infant/toddler quality improvement initiative and a home visiting program). Implementation teams are discussed, along with examples of how these teams use data across levels. The authors include implications for program developers, policymakers, and researchers.

“Toward an Evidence-Based System for Innovation Support for Implementing Innovations with Quality: Tools, Training, Technical Assistance, and Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement" (Abraham Wandersman, Victoria H. Chien, and Jason Katz, 2012).
This article argues that implementation of programs or innovations requires support at all levels—national, state, local, community, and direct service—and that the gap between research and practice on innovation support needs to be closed if programs are to achieve outcomes. The authors discuss connections among four types of support: tools, training, technical assistance, and quality assurance and quality improvement. They also provide an overview of one model, the “Getting to Outcomes” framework, which aligns with Plan-Do-Check-Act.


Adaptive Leadership Toolkit (American Public Human Services Association’s Innovation Center, n.d.).
This toolkit was designed to help identify and develop adaptive leadership skills. It includes reflective questions to help individuals consider their own and others’ adaptive leadership skills, as well as a process for identifying areas to strengthen, a self-assessment, and questions to help with next steps.

Early Childhood Systems Building Resource Guide: Leadership (State Capacity Building Center, 2019).
This guide shares cutting-edge, brain-based models for improving both individual and systems leadership practices. It also shares ways to improve approaches for leading change on adaptive challenges.

Leadership ideas, principles, and competencies (State Capacity Building Center,n.d.).
This website outlines adaptive leadership ideas, principles, and competencies that may help build capacity to execute better in a constantly shifting environment. This can help mobilize others to make progress on both opportunities and challenges.

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World (Ron Heifetz, Marty Linsky, and Alexander Grashow, 2009).
This guide provides practical, concrete information to help develop adaptive leadership skills. It includes stories, tools, cases, and worksheets.

“The Work of Leadership” (Ronald Heifetz and Donald L. Laurie, 1997).
This article describes the importance of adaptive leadership, the challenges of adaptive work, and includes specific actions and behaviors leaders need to be successful in tackling adaptive challenges.

Planning Tools for Building Consensus

Lesson 1: The Hexagon Tool – Exploring Context (National Implementation Research Network, 2013).
This tool helps states, communities, and agencies systematically evaluate new and existing interventions based on six broad factors: needs, fit, resource availability, evidence, readiness for replication, and capacity to implement. This tool can help teams have discussions and make decisions based on information from numerous sources.

Multi-Attribute Consensus Building Tool (Vitaliy Shyyan, Laurene Christensen, Martha Thurlow, and Sheryl Lazarus, 2013).
This tool is used for building consensus through participatory decision-making. Its quantitative process helps large and small groups discuss and weigh items and either reach consensus or identify the sources of differences in opinions. This tool could be useful in building state capacity and identifying priorities.

State Examples

"Maryland Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC)" (Maryland State Department of Education, n.d.).
This Web page includes reports, presentations, project abstracts, frequently asked questions, and many other documents related to Maryland’s Local Early Childhood Advisory Councils.

Wisconsin Pyramid Model For Social and Emotional Competence: 2015 Annual Report (Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners, 2015).
This annual report describes Wisconsin’s work to build an infrastructure to support implementation of the Pyramid Model framework. The Pyramid Model is “a framework for implementing a multi-leveled and responsive system of support to enhance the development of infants, toddlers, and young children, especially in the social and emotional domain.” The report includes specifics about use of teams at different levels of implementation (state and direct-service levels); Wisconsin’s framework for training; use of data at the state, regional, and local levels; supports provided to direct-service providers, including coaching and technical consultation; and administrative supports and their results.

Toolkits and Guides

A Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps and Activities (Barbara Smith, Joicey Hurth, Lynda Pletcher, Evelyn Shaw, Kathy Whaley, Mary Peters, and Glen Dunlap, 2014).
This 15-page guide concisely outlines specific steps for state leadership, intermediary organizations, and site-level teams for each stage of implementation.

Getting to Outcomes™: 10 Steps for Achieving Results-Based Accountability (Shelley H. Wiseman, Matthew Chinman, Patricia A. Ebener, Sarah B. Hunter, Pamela Imm, and Abraham Wandersman, 2007).
This document is a summary of the Getting to Outcomes™: Promoting Accountability Through Methods and Tools For Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation manual. It provides a step-by-step overview of the 10-step process, from choosing a problem or problems to focus on, to considering how to keep a successful program going. The steps are designed support the planning, implementation, and evaluation of effective programs.

Getting to Outcomes 2004: Promoting Accountability Through Methods and Tools For Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (Matthew Chinman, Pamela Imm, and Abraham Wandersman, 2004).
This manual provides guidance to agencies, schools, and community coalitions as they plan, implement, and evaluate their own substance-abuse programs using the Getting to Outcomes process. Although the subject matter is substance abuse, the guidance on planning, implementing, and evaluating is relevant to other social programs.

Implementation of Programme and Policy Initiatives: Making Implementation Matter – Better Practice Guide (Australian Government, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2006).
This guide addresses the skills, effort, and challenges involved in turning a policy idea into an outcome. It includes best practice considerations for implementation, sections on planning and development, and a several checklists for senior program developers.

"Implementing Evidence-Informed Practice: A Practical Toolkit" ( Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health, 2013).
This toolkit contains practical strategies and resources for planning and implementing a program. It addresses building leadership support, engaging stakeholders, and managing and leading change.

Implementing Parenting Interventions in Early Care and Education Settings: A Guidebook for Implementation (Tamara Halle, Diane Paulsell, Sarah Daily, Anne Douglass, Shannon Moodie, and Allison Metz, 2015).
This guidebook provides a description of the steps needed for successfully planning and implementing a parenting intervention. It provides information for the state, intermediary, and program levels, as well as a glossary of terms, implementation resources, and checklists of implementation milestones by implementation stage.

"Toolkits"(California Social Work Education Center, n.d.).
This web page has many online toolkits, including implementation toolkits, the Birth to Six Toolkit, the Family Finding and Engagement Toolkit, the Father Engagement and Father Involvement Toolkit, and the Team Decision Making Toolkit. The section on implementation toolkits includes several resources on defining and planning a program.

"Toolkits"(Community Tool Box, Work Group for Community Health and Development, University of Kansas, n.d.).
This online resource was developed for those working to bring about social change and build healthy communities. The toolkit has 16 sections. It includes a range of topics such as assessing needs, developing a framework or model of change, developing an intervention, and evaluating an initiative.