Friday, 13 July 2012

Readiness diagnostic tools for spread, scaling up, dissemination

So how do you know whether your organisation is ready to embark on a program to adopt existing good ideas / evidence in a systematic way?

As in previous posts, most of the answer to this question is a no-brainer - you know the answers already (see previous posts).  However, sometimes it's nice to have a checklist or set of tools to help you check whether what you know about is actually in place.

There are many general tools / checklists available which check whether your team or organisation is ready to do something different.  Most of these assess the culture of the group. The disadvantage here, which is why I suspect many people avoid these types of tools, is if you find out that your culture is not ready, many people lack the patience to go through the necessary cultural change - or they just don't have the time for this "pre-work".

Generic tools can be useful for learning about your organisation though they can be a good (and time-wasting) displacement activity by organisations.

The best types of diagnostic tools are those which are specific to the change in hand.  Specific means they are designed around and for the type of change proposed.

  1. One of the best examples I know of specific diagnostic tools come from, the US National Council on Aging. For their Chronic Disease, Falls and Depression scale up plans they have open access tools which can be completed online or you can download the PDF to read through.  Each of these is specific to the adopting community and the type of innovation proposed for scale up / spread / dissemination.
  2. NICE - yes, the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence (NHS) has been at the forefront of providing tools that support the introduction of evidence. These are excellent spreadsheets, populated with the NHS data and ready to use.  Unfortunately, I don't hear about them being used on a regular basis - especially by commissioners.
The problem with tools and diagnsotics is no difference than the problem with any other thing we want to spread or be adopted - most people would prefer to create their own because the credibility for many members of staff lies in the excitement and status of creating their own, rather than using someone else's. If you're offered a diagnostic tool - have a good look at it - if it is specific to the innovation it may be very useful for you.

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