Why is it important to consider piloting an innovation rather than trying to implement large scale from the start?

Question: Why is it important to consider piloting an innovation rather than trying to implement large scale from the start? 

Answer: School teams that are beginning implementation of a new practice, they’re usually enthusiastic. They found something that they know has been proven to address a need in their school, and so they want to get that to as many students as possible as quickly as possible, and that makes sense. The problem is, particularly in large schools, going too fast can cause the whole thing to fall apart. So we all need to remember that everyone really needs to be engaged in consensus building. People need to understand, “Why are we doing what we are doing? Why are we changing something that maybe we are already comfortable with?” And they need to understand how they are going to be supported before they can really fully engage, and learn, and improve things. So, it brings to mind the importance of using a small scale pilot of a new practice before going throughout a whole school. And again, that is hard. We want to get something that is valuable to everyone as quickly as possible. But the small scale pilot allows us to build some in house expertise, allows the folks involved in that pilot to really develop their skills, and also to identify and resolve what are the obstacles to applying this practice in our school so that you can have all of those kinks worked out before you are expanding to those other folks. At the end of a pilot you will have outcome information that you can use to assist others to understand how helpful this will be, and  you will also have in-house experts that can now help train and coach their colleagues.

Developed By: 
National Center on Intensive Intervention