mechanisms. Convergent approaches focus on particular goals and objectives; plans, products, and resources are aligned with achievement of these objectives. Ultimately, innovation and widespread implementation involve an interplay between divergent and convergent approaches—openness to the unexpected as well as disciplined planning. As a general though somewhat oversimplified rule, the balance shifts from divergence to convergence as one moves along the continuum from basic research, to applied research, to development, to implementation. At no stage is one mode exclusively in play, however. In the case of SHRP 2 implementation, the products to be implemented will be given—the time for divergent ideas about what SHRP 2 research goals should be or what products should result will be past. SHRP 2 implementation will involve prioritization of activities, plans, and programs and allocation of budgets in accordance with these priorities. Nevertheless, there will be avenues of implementation and perhaps even users of SHRP 2 products that the managers of the implementation effort will not have foreseen. The program should be open to new paths when they arise and have sufficient flexibility in its planning and budgeting to take advantage of promising opportunities.
Several key implementation strategies emerge from the experience with implementing SHRP 1, as reflected in the principles outlined above. To be successful, these strategies must be supported by a strong knowledge management infrastructure that provides tools and expertise, especially in the area of information technology (see Box 6-2). Two of the strategies discussed below—training and education and long-term stewardship of information repositories—are themselves key elements of knowledge management. All the strategies involve communication and collaboration among users and other stakeholders. The full range of knowledge management tools should be employed, as appropriate, to advance these strategies.
As suggested above, the benefits of some SHRP 2 products may be optimized by combining the results of several related research projects into a unified package with unique branding, as was done for Superpave.