active implementation and a formula for implementation success

By Julia E Moore

The project spotlight for November 2018 highlights Active Implementation developed by the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN). The Active Implementation model is unique because, like other process models, it outlines specific steps for implementation; but unlike other process models, it provides additional frameworks and resources to operationalize each step, making it more practical.

The “process model” aspect of Active Implementation presents 5 stages of implementation:  

  1. Exploration

  2. Installation

  3. Initial implementation

  4. Full implementation

  5. Sustainability

Active Implementation: Process Model   Adapted from:

Active Implementation: Process Model

Adapted from:

If you want to learn more about Active Implementation, there are great resources available on the AI Hub. For example, the Implementation Teams module has wonderful tools to help implementers develop and support implementation teams.

My favourite resource from Active Implementation is their Formula for Success. Our adapted version of the formula says that in order to achieve significant outcomes, we need 4 things:

  1. An effective innovation (this might be an evidence-based program, practice, or guideline);

  2. effective implementation strategies (these are the strategies used to change people’s behaviour to align with the effective innovation);

  3. to implement the strategies effectively (this is about how well we implement); and

  4. a context that enables implementation (this is about considering where implementation is taking place)

When developing this formula, NIRN purposely included multiplication signs, because if any of these are equal to zero, we will not achieve the significant outcomes we are looking for. It’s such a great overview of the major things to consider when planning for implementation.

In their Project Spotlight, Dalton Wolfe and Saagar Walia highlight how they adapted the Active Implementation stages and the importance of building in training and supports for implementers.

Active Implementation: Formula for Success   Source:

Active Implementation: Formula for Success