What is it, and why is it important for the entire process of working with welfare technology?
An implementation model is a framework designed to guide you through a successful implementation. It contains descriptions and guidelines for the different aspects and stages of an implementation process.
In reality, and indeed in the CONNECT process, implementation is echoed throughout the different steps – we consider implementation when doing the communication plan, the needs analysis the evaluation model etc. This means that implementation is to be considered throughput the process – not only after the technology has been bought.
It is often stated that implementation is 80% of the job, when introducing new technology, which is why it is so very important to consider how each of the previous 7 steps will effect the implementation as you do them. This step however, will try to advice on what to remember when starting the actual implementation after the product has been procured.
Do a thorough implementation plan before starting, including goals, tasks, timeline and follow-ups. Do not make the timeline to tight, leave room for the unforeseen. Also, remember to communicate the plan, and arrange follow-ups before starting.
- Accordingly, good communication is key. Use your communication plan (step 3) well – and consider including a communication officer in the implementation phase.
- Ensure your implementation plan is anchored correctly – on all levels – during the different stages of the plan. Essentially: who is responsible for what at the different organizational levels and at the different stages of the implementation process.
- When forming the implementation plan use your evaluation report (step 6) and consider how the impact on existing systems and organization is best managed during the implementation.
- The plan must include a very clear guideline to who is eligible to receive the technology. Ensure that this is implemented and understood by those doing the service assessment for each citizen – so that the new technology is a part of the future service delivery.
- Do not be afraid to include the technology supplier in the planning (and possibly execution) of the implementation. They know the strengths and weaknesses of the product, and a very hands-on approach from the supplier can help offer a sense of security for the staff during the initial introduction phase. Implementation assistance can also be part of the procurement package (step 7)
- Training is always an essential part of the implementation plan. Training always includes the staff – and often includes citizens and relatives. Training of employees in not limited to "front line staff" delivering the service, but also to those responsible for service assessment.
- It is highly recommendable, regardless of the size of your municipality, to establish formal networks between employees that work with implementation of welfare technology, so that knowledge can be shared and resources used in an optimal way.
As an example, Odense Municipality has the following networks
Citizen and user involvement
- Formalized cooperation with the senior citizen council - technology group – in regards to testing and sparring on new welfare technology
- Gathering experiences through the ambassador network, described later, in relation to cooperation with citizens on specific technologies
- Citizen participation in various projects
Network of decentral management
This could be managers of decentralised units, such as homecare nurses, or nursing care homes etc. The decentral managers job is to support the implementation of welfare technology strategy and contribute to the agenda setting in the organization, including:
- Strategic sparring on implementation of welfare technology
- Mediate the strategy to the leaders, colleagues and employees
- Practical sparring on new technologies (growth), new work processes, implementation, etc.
A network of employees across all areas. The Ambassador's role is to support the implementation of welfare technology strategy and contribute to the agenda setting in the organization, including:
- Taking an active role in the implementation processes
- Qualifying initiatives and mapping challenges in the welfare technology area
- Be a positive voice and partner with colleagues, citizens and relatives around welfare technology. Acting as link between colleagues, citizens and Implementation and Development
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Guidelines based on experience
- When formulating the goals and tasks of your implementation plan, consider making them measurable. Having a clear target can help give the implementation process a focus and sense of direction that helps efficiency.
- Carefully consider the organization behind the implementation plan. Choose one responsible project officer, as well as a working group. This will increase ownership and prove helpful when anchoring the implementation plan.
- Ensure sufficient time and resources is allocated for training. Letting go / getting rid of old methods is difficult and requires a systematic approach. Consider including a model for how the employees should be trained in using the new technology in your implementation plan. Remember that repetition is necessary, so plan for follow-up training (and remember to include those doing the service assessment).
- When doing large scale implementation check that your implementation does not clash with other innovation processes or major changes in the organization.
- It is during the implementation phase your "communication plan" (step 3) really pays off. Be sure to incorporate it into your implementation plan.
- Structure a systematic follow-up with employees and departments for continuous feed back and evaluation, not simply with regards to training, but for the entire implementation process.
- Start the actual implementation at the units/departments that participated in the evaluation of the product. That should make for an easier and more positive start, to get the ball rolling.
- Consider having a contingency plan, a back-up if the technology, supplier or organization fails.
- Your implementation plan should include a plan for future logistics (storage and transportation), technology servicing and user support.
- Consider making tools to support the implementation process, now - and in the future.
Support tools for the implementation process could include:
A visual implementation model
See below for examples from Sweden and Denmark under the methods and tools section. A visual implementation model is a tool that presents a basic methodology for implementing technology – to give the people involved a common understanding of the process.
An implementation log/implementation check list
Create a basic list of tasks and people to involve etc. This log / check list can act as the basis of your implementation plan ensuring continuity and a structured approach. For examples of an implementation log / check list, se section for methods and tools.
A physical location where technologies are displayed and available. This way employees and end-users can learn more – or even receive training in a controlled environment. For examples see the Methods and tools section.
Designated test facilities
Special institutions that are awarded extra resources to test technologies and consider the best organization and approach to implement new technologies.
Easy instruction and guidance
This can be done my appliying Barcodes (QR codes) to new technologies, that when scanned show a small video of how to use the given technology. It can be a series of webinars or similar solutions. These are examples of the continuous training of employees, which helps implementation.
A specialized technology support unit
A specialized unit that handles end user support, that being from employees, citizens or relatives.
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What has having an implementation model meant to the CONNECT participants?
Having an implementation plan has given the evaluation process structure and continuity. It gives the process a certain robustness and validity regardless of the product or process being evaluated.
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Methods and tools
Examples of Visual implementation models
Vesterås and Göteborg recommends using the nine steps below as guidelines/ visual implementation model. It also acts as a good basis for doing an impelementation plan.
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Odense uses the visual implementation model below:
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Examples Implementation guides
- Odense uses an "Implementation log" to ensure continuity in their implementation processes. To see this log visit www.nordicwelfare.org/connect
- Lindås uses an implementation checklist which can also be found on the above mentioned webpage.
Examples of Living labs
National implementation guides
Examples on training staff
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Examples of implementations models from the CONNECT participants
The above methodology can be acquired by contacting the Connect municipalities directly. In addition Aarhus and South Karelia use other sources for inspiration which can be found below.
Aarhus has made a visualization of their implementation plan, a link can be found here. Aarhus also has a livinglab at Dokk1 in Aarhus city center which is open daily.
In South Karelia they use and share good practices for implementation and innovation through a finnish webpage.
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