Design and Implementation

Organization drivers are elements of systems and organizations. These drivers support promising environments for effective program delivery. They are often called “enabling context” and can be achieved by establishing and using feedback loops, competency drivers, and performance and outcome data for continuous quality improvement.[1] Three key organization drivers are decision-support data systems, facilitative administration, and systems intervention.

Decision-Support Data System

The decision-support data system is a process for identifying, collecting, and using data at all levels of implementation (in other words, state, intermediary partners, and direct-service organizations). This driver is about conditions for understanding and using data; examples include frequent reporting of reliable data; data as part of everyday routines; and wide sharing of data with staff, family members, and community stakeholders. In short, this driver is about accessible data that is used at every level to make decisions. Consider the following examples:

  • In direct services, teachers use data from observations of their practice to increase their understanding. Directors and teachers use data to establish professional development goals and plans. Directors use data to identify areas needing improvement and make budget decisions using data.
  • At the intermediary level, technical assistance (TA) organizations use data from classrooms and programs they support to develop new resources and identify additional skills that TA providers need.
  • At the state level, aggregated data are used to make decisions about which professional development activities might need an increase or decrease in funding and what new areas might need support.

Facilitative Administration

Facilitative administration uses a decision-support data system, clear communication, and feedback loops to monitor how the program is functioning and to make improvements. Leadership and implementation teams often activate this driver, which applies to state, intermediary, and direct-service staff.

Tips for supporting facilitative administration include the following:

  • Ensuring that leadership (state, intermediary, and direct service) is committed and addresses challenges
  • Creating and using feedback loops and communication protocols that span state, intermediary, and direct-service staff
  • Developing and adjusting state, intermediary, and direct-service policies, procedures, and guidelines to support the new work
  • Reducing barriers to using the program
  • Creating leadership or implementation teams

Systems Interventions

Systems interventions help ensure available financial, organizational, and human resources for effective development and implementation. These systems supports are part of the context that helps deliver and sustain a program. Systems interventions help establish a supportive context so that direct services can be effectively delivered.

Recommended practices include the following:[2]

  • Forming and supporting a leadership team that brings in representatives from all levels (state, intermediary, and direct service)
  • Developing a process to ensure policy-to-practice feedback loops and two-way communication across (state, intermediary, direct service) and within (staff, managers, leadership) levels of the system
  • Engaging and nurturing champions and opinion leaders

[1] Bertram, R., Blase, K., Shern, D., Shea, P., & Fixsen, D. (2011). Implementation opportunities and challenges for prevention and promotion initiatives. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

[2] Halle, T., Metz, A., & Martinez-Beck, I. (2013). Applying implementation science in early childhood programs and systems. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing.