How to Use the Guide

The Guide is designed to facilitate use by busy decisionmakers, layering questions for consideration to allow users to select an appropriate level of detail. We do not expect readers to read the entire document from cover to cover. The Guide uses a modular format that permits readers to move around the text. The four primary modules are guided by the following questions:

  1. Does the innovation fit?
    • What is the innovation?
    • Does it further our goals?
    • Is it compatible with our organization?
  2. Should we do it here?
    • What are the potential benefits?
    • What are the potential costs?
    • Can we build a business case?
    • What are the risks?
  3. Can we do it here?
    • Are we ready for this change?
    • What changes will we have to make?
    • Do we have the ingredients for success?
  4. How will we do it here?
    • How will we measure the impact of the innovation?
    • Can we try the innovation first?
    • How will we implement the innovation?


Use Exhibit 1. Issues to Consider When Deciding Whether to Adopt an Innovation to identify sections that are most pertinent to your organization’s situation. Click on the section name or question to link to that part of the guide.

Exhibit 1. Issues to Consider When Deciding Whether to Adopt an Innovation

Dimensions Questions to Consider
I. Does the innovation fit?
Innovation Description
Goal Congruence
II. Should we do it here?
Potential Benefits
Potential Costs
Business Case
Potential Risks
III. Can we do it here?
Readiness for Change
Needed Changes
Ingredients for Success
IV. How will we do it here?
Measuring Impact

The Guide may help some users determine early on that an innovation they are considering adopting is not an appropriate fit for their organization. For others, the Guide may suggest that an innovation is an excellent fit, and provide a head start on implementation.

The Guide may be used in a number of ways, by a broad range of decisionmakers. You can use the Guide as:

  • A problem-solving aid for organizational planning
  • A roadmap for navigating the innovation adoption decision process
  • A vehicle for training or professional development
  • A catalog of tools and examples of innovation adoption decisionmaking
  • A means to obtain input from and involve stakeholders in decisionmaking
  • A stimulus to launch discussions about how to adapt and remain competitive in a changing environment


The following icons are used throughout the Guide to differentiate key elements:

Denotes tools available on the Internet
Denotes examples




We conducted case studies of innovation adoption decisions in four health care organizations. Excerpts from the case studies highlight factors considered during the decisionmaking processes. The case studies may be viewed in their entirety in the Appendix.


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