The National Implementation Research Network framework describes four phases of implementation:
- Exploration (when people explore the possibility of making use of an innovation)
- Installation (where the goal is to acquire or repurpose the resources needed to do the work ahead)
- Initial implementation (when the innovation is being used for the first time)
- Full implementation (reached when 50% or more of the intended practitioners, staff, or team members are using an effective innovation with fidelity and good outcomes
(National Implementation Research Network, n.d.)
Readiness at one phase does not ensure readiness for the next phase. Communities and organizations need to be ready to enter each phase of implementation: exploration, installation, initial implementation, full implementation. It would be useful for key stakeholders (e.g., leadership, implementers, community members, and clients being served) to discuss readiness regularly. Because readiness is dynamic (i.e., it evolves during a project period and can increase, stay the same, or decrease over time in different phases), these discussions enable project staff to consider readiness components as new challenges arise and to modify the existing approach to meet these needs. Readiness indicators can be assessed through a range of methods, including surveys of providers, clients served, or community members; focus groups eliciting group perspectives; and observation of program components. In the next section, we discuss the implications of the readiness heuristic for staff working in federal agencies.