The school research lead, The Implementation Game and increasing your chance of successfully implementing an intervention

In last week’s blog we looked at school leaders could use the Hexagon Tool to help them better decisions as to whether a particular intervention is right for their school and setting.  In this week’s blog I’m going to look at what comes next – the implementation of the intervention – and how the work of Melanie Barwick and The Implementation Game (TIG) can increase your chance of actually bringing about improvements for your pupils and staff

Put simply The Implementation Game is basically a resource that helps you develop and implementation plan for whatever intervention you are looking to introduce.    Based on the research evidence from the field of implementation science – TIG is ‘played’ by the group of people who will be helping you develop the implementation of the of the intervention. In particular, it gets the implementation team to think about five different stages of implementation.

·     Preparing for practice change – choosing an innovation – and, for example,questions around your needs, desired outcomes, potential evidence-based practices which could achieve those outcomes

·     Preparing for practice change – readiness – whether the proposed innovation meets yours needs, is it a good fit, what changes will need to be made, what resources are available, what capacity is available to sustain the innovation, how will you obtain and maintain buy-in, how will you communicate the goal of the innovations

·     Implementation structure and organization – what partnerships will be required, what training will be required, what physical space will be needed, who will you maintain fidelity to both the implementation process and fidelity to the innovation, what technology will be needed, 

·     Ongoing implementation support - what staff training will be provided, what technical assistance and coaching will be made available, what data will you collect to evaluate process and outcomes, how will you go about learning how to improve your processes

·     Maintaining fidelity and sustaining – how will you maintain fidelity and quality over time  

In addition, TIG provides a range of other resources which helps you think through 

·     The different factors that might be relevant for your intervention – for example, the characteristics of the intervention, the outer setting and external factors, the inner setting and internal factors, characteristics of individuals involved and the process of engaging with them.

·     Implementation strategies – gather information, building buy-in, developing relationships, developing training materials, financial strategies and incentives, quality management

·     Implementation outcomes – for example acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, costs, feasibility, fidelity, 

A few observations

It seems to me that TIG is a useful tool that help you engage in a rigours process of planning the implementation of an intervention.  However, that does not mean that by using the tool this will guarantee success – that will depend upon many factors both your skills in both using the TIG and subsequently implementing the identified actions.  Indeed, one thing that I really like about the tool is right from the beginning it’s getting you to think about the sustainability of the intervention – and it’s not just about how can we implement an innovation – and then tick a box and say job done.  

And finally 

This will be my last blog of the academic year – and I intend to return will new resources and material at the end of August


Barwick M. (2018). The Implementation Game Worksheet. Toronto, ON The Hospital for Sick Children.