Change is complex and dynamic. It involves moving or transforming from something familiar to something new. Change can be broad, affecting multiple practices or aspects of the program, or it might be narrow, affecting fewer practices. Regardless of the scale, change is a dynamic active and on-going process, rather than a single event.

There are many reasons for programs or agencies to engage in a change process. Some of these may include:

  • A newly defined vision or direction
  • A crisis
  • A new mandate
  • Data that supports a change is needed
  • New information and/or research
  • Old ways are not getting the needed or desired outcomes
  • New leadership bringing different practices

The push to change can come from any level of the organization. Regardless of where the initial push comes from, it is essential that a change effort is carefully planned. It is important that program and agency leaders first examine the current organizational and political climate to assess readiness to both begin and sustain implementation and scaling up (or expansion) of new practices or an innovation.

This examination should include:

  • Identification of key stakeholders who share the interest and need for change
  • Assessment of the degree to which these stakeholders perceive the issue or need to be a priority
  • Willingness of leadership from multiple agencies and programs to support the change process over a period of time
  • Identification of a leadership team responsible for the oversight of necessary aspects of the change process over time
  • Desire to engage in discussions and gather information about potential solutions to identified needs
  • Knowledge of implementation science and its application to the change process

It is important to recognize that, planning and engaging in the implementation of any new innovation, evidence-based practice, or cluster of practices takes time, energy and resources. The change process can be understood and organized using defined steps and subsequent activities that are needed to move a concept into reality. These steps and activities are outlined in the following document, "A Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps and Activities".