Implementation Science Below the Waterline

Implementation Science Below the Waterline

Allison Metz joined us recently to speak about the role of trust and psychological safety in the use of evidence.

Allison Metz joined us recently to speak about the role of trust and psychological safety in the use of evidence.

Implementation science is the study of the factors that lead to the uptake, scale and sustainability of practices, programmes and policies with the evidence behind them. The purpose of implementation science is to create a bridge between research evidence and the real-world settings of service delivery to improve outcomes for those being served.

While the field of implementation science includes many frameworks, theories, and models, a blueprint for the real work that needs to happen to support people and organisations to change does not exist. Most evidence-based implementation strategies focus above the waterline of the iceberg. The truth is that the deeper work of supporting organizational and social change happens below the surface where there is little light, and we strain to see what is happening and what people are actually feeling.

In this Lunchtime Talk, Allison Metz looked below the waterline to understand the culture and connections that can facilitate or impede growth and change. A case example from a child welfare system in the United States was used to illustrate specific strategies for identifying what is below the waterline and addressing implementation challenges that often remain invisible to leaders, funders, and consultants.

These strategies include:

  • building trusting relationships;
  • promoting psychological safety for teams and individuals; and
  • demonstrating empathy.

Recording of the talk


Speaker’s bio

Allison Metz, PhD, is a developmental psychologist with expertise in child development and family systems and a commitment to improving outcomes and advancing equity for children and families. Allison is currently a Professor of the Practice and Director of Implementation Practice at the School of Social Work and Faculty Fellow at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She specializes in the implementation of evidence to achieve social impact for children and families in a range of human service and education areas, with an emphasis on child welfare and early childhood service contexts. Allison’s current research interests include competencies for professionals who provide implementation support and the role of trusting relationships and psychological safety in implementation. She leads the Collaborative for Implementation Practice, which centres the human experience in implementation and seeks to build evidence for implementation practice. Allison is also a co-chair of the UNC Institute on Implementation Science.

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations | 63 Gee Street, London, EC1V 3RS
hello@tavinstitute.org | +44 20 7417 0407
Charity No.209706 | Design & build by Modern Activity