Hall and Hord (2011) identify Innovation Configurations (IC) as a way to address the overall picture of what the change implementers are envisioning for the change initiative. IC’s provide individuals with a clear understanding of what is expected. This clear understanding helps to avoid differences during the implementation of the change initiative.

When differences do occur, they typically occur on a continuum; ranging from very similar to the intended ideal to very dissimilar to the intended ideal. Using an Innovation Configuration Map (ICM) can help implementers foresee these differences and deal with them as they arise.

ICM’s provide a way to show individuals involved in the change all of the options there are when implementing a change initiative. Some individuals believe that the use of an ICM is unnecessary because professional development will be provided to all staff in the building. However, something that is often overlooked is the fact that not everyone will interpret the professional development in the same way. This is where an ICM can be especially useful.

Questions to consider:

Hall and Hord (2011) identified three questions that should be kept in mind while developing an ICM:

  1. What does the innovation look like when it is in use?
  2. What would you see in classrooms where it is used well (and when it is not used well)?
  3. What will teachers and students be doing when the innovation is in use?

When creating the ICM, it is best to include as many staff members as possible. This will help contribute to increased clarity, precise expectations, feelings of contributions, greater commitment to the innovations, and buy-in from more staff members right from the beginning. When the ICM is ready for use, it should be shared with all potential and current users of the innovation.

Implementers can place a fidelity line on the ICM indicating the separation between what is an acceptable version of the change and a non-acceptable version of the change. This will help those involved in the change understand what is expected of them and what they need to do to meet those expectations.


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Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (2011). Implementing change, patterns, principles, and potholes. (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.