In our last edition, we explored Communities of Practice which leverage the expertise developed when each member of an ongoing learning group cultivates his/her MI skills, or any other skills that are evidence-based. Because Communities of Practice are peer-led, each member is motivated to invest in ownership of the group, and to deepen skill proficiency in the process.
This is where the term “implegration” comes in – a term coined by Carl Ake Farbring in Sweden. As staff develop their individual expertise with new skills, and also expertise on what works and doesn’t work for skill development, they become a rich source for ideas around creating engaging ways for supporting, mastering and integrating EBP’s into practice. In other words,“implegration” invites you to actively integrate staff ideas into the implementation process
Tremendous potential immediately on tap
Staff participants in EBP implementation have tremendous untapped potential for improvising solutions when it comes to implementation issues and/or roadblocks. Who better to generate ideas for solutions than those who are actively experiencing the implementation process! The beauty of implegration is that, just like a Community of Practice invites ownership of the implementation process on the micro level, implegration invites ownership of the implementation process on the macro level by encouraging participant input and ideas for overall implementation success.
Internal vs. outside experts
Rather than going to outside ‘experts”, look to internal experts by setting up focus groups to explore staff’s ideas for addressing whatever particular hurdles might be presenting themselves in your implementation process. Ensure that these focus groups provide a safe environment for idea-sharing, perhaps by encouraging small group dyad or triad conversations to brainstorm ideas, then share those ideas with the rest of the group. Ideas should include not only potential solutions, but also the reason for the particular solution approach and why, from experience, staff think this solution might work. If there is already an established Community of Practice, this same group might serve as the focus group, or a peer facilitator who is particularly excited about the skill might be designated to convene a group (for instance, if the focus group is about MI implementation, then a staff member who is an “MI champion” and has naturally developed a strong excitement for the skill).
Some examples of “Implegration” topics
To make this concept real and tangible, here are some examples…
A seemingly small, yet quite impactful example:
The officer who, each week, puts a new and different post-it note on her computer to remind herself of a different MI skill or technique she would like to practice during her office visits. When this officer shares this “set of cards” that she’s developed over time, a whole new tool is introduced to accelerate the learning of all. In addition, this tool has already been tested and proven to be helpful.
An example on the group level:
A group of officers, joking around in the break room one day, creates a game that they play at lunch time where in order to open the refrigerator door, you’ve got to answer an MI skill question posted on the door, then replace that question with a new question. They find it to be a quick way to keep themselves thinking about the skills, and the element of curiosity (i.e. “I wonder what’s gonna be on the door today”) keeps the process fresh and interesting. The officers share this game with the larger implementation board who shares it as a new tool for officers across the organization to use.
An example on the organizational level:
The implementation team, interested in using an “implegration” approach, convenes a focus group of participants in an MI roll out. During the meeting, they discover that participants are having a hard time doing their required recorded training sessions because the particular clients needed are only available during times when they have been assigned other organizational responsibilities. After some brainstorming, the staff participants come up with a solution that the implementation team would never have been able to identify on its own, in addition to the fact that the implementation team would not have even known about the problem without creating the opportunity for an implegration meeting.
Whenever new norms are established that support new practices, and those new norms come from the inside out, implegration is present, and the process of implementation has deepened itself by actually walking its talk – implementing with real attention to the ultimate integration of the innovation.
If interested to talk more with us about all things implementation, we have several programs that support EBP’s. Please explore the rest of our website, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org