8. National Diffusion Efforts
Although national diffusion was a goal throughout the grant cycle, it wasn’t until halfway through the grant cycle that we started serious conversations about regional and national diffusion initiatives, asking: “How will we attract others across the nation to try the innovation and make it routine?” We created sample worksheets and asked each grantee to submit a national diffusion plan. For the most part, the task appeared overwhelming for grantees and sponsors.
One-on-one conference calls with each grantee team provided another opportunity to dig deeply into the entire process of innovating. As we considered potential national adopters and strategic partners, the essence or fundamental “deliverable” was revisited. With the innovative process or technology well developed at the local sites, considering how “it” could be spread to “strangers” across the country seemed daunting.
Success in local adoption was socially mediated through ongoing relationships and hard-earned credibility. The next step was to create a process through which these relationships could be recreated in the national arena. We asked out loud, “How can we find the energy to engage a much wider circle of opinion leaders when we are just gaining acceptance at home?”
Early efforts and forays include:
Regional and national presentations to various professional groups highlighting grantee innovations are well underway
Strategic “insinuation” efforts include creating partnerships with other national industry leaders to spread the innovation and “attaching” the