Willing, Able -> Ready: Basics and Policy Implications of Readiness as a Key Component for Scaling up Implementation of Evidence-Based Interventions. Executive Summary


As more federal agencies recommend that organizations implement evidence-based interventions (EBIs), it is critical to know whether an organization is ready to implement these approaches. “Readiness” refers to the extent to which an organization is both willing and able to implement a particular practice. An emerging body of scholarly work identifies three components of readiness that organizations should address when implementing new EBIs: (a) motivation of people within the organization to adopt new EBIs, (b) general organizational capacities, and (c) intervention-specific capacities. Motivation includes beliefs about an intervention and support for the program which contribute to the desire to adopt a practice. General capacity speaks to different aspects of organizational functioning such as culture, climate, staff capacity, and leadership. Intervention-specific capacity describes human, technical, and fiscal conditions such as knowledge, skills, and intervention-related abilities that are important to the successful implementation of a particular practice.

Although a scientific body of knowledge about readiness already exists, there is a need to develop more concrete recommendations for federal agencies and practitioners to use when implementing EBIs. This brief establishes the basics of readiness using the R=MC2 (Readiness = Motivation × General Capacity and Intervention-Specific Capacity) heuristic, examines some of the policy implications of readiness, and identifies directions for future research.

Key Take Away-Messages

  • When considering an organization’s readiness for implementing EBIs, it is helpful toconsider the constructs of motivation, general capacity, and intervention-specificcapacity. This relationship is represented in the heuristic R=MC2.
  • Policymakers may include targeted questions about readiness in funding opportunityannouncements (FOAs) and develop criteria to evaluate answers to these questions toincorporate information about readiness when choosing grantees.
  • Practitioner organizations (e.g., community-based organizations, schools) should assesstheir readiness before implementing an EBI to better understand their technical assistanceneeds. They should also assess organizational readiness throughout the life cycle of aprogram to foster continuous program improvement.
  • Policymakers interested in future research on readiness could consider determiningcommonalities and differences in FOAs across federal agencies, and researching thedifferential effectiveness of different types of technical assistance provided based on thereadiness of an organization.
  • Researchers should explore the weights of various subcomponents of the R=MCheuristic (i.e., the relative importance of different aspects of motivation) to establish highpriority areas for training and technical assistance (TTA).

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