What is sustainable implementation in a project?
The quality system of quint-essenz distinguishes between the two concepts of "sustainability of projects" and "sustainable development" as understood in an ecological sense (see Agenda 21). The sustainable implementation of projects means that results can be shown at the end of a project and that these results have the capacity to produce possible long-term effects. Long-term effects are more likely to occur if the nature of the project's desired end results are well defined from the outset. In order to achieve sustainable implementation it is essential to think and plan with a long term vision and a time horizon going beyond the end of the project.
What type of results promise lasting effects? How are these actually achieved? The following points provide some examples:
Providing the impulse for self-development
Creating health conducive settings is one of health promotion’s key strategic approaches (see Setting). Such a goal can not be implemented with a single intervention. However, it is possible to design a project that enables or at least motivates an organisation to develop into a health-promoting setting. .An example would be a school that mandates an external project group to conduct several week-long health campaigns during the school year. Such a project can be implemented in the form of individual actions or as a longer-term process. With this perspective the campaign weeks become the foundation for a health-promoting school. In practice, this would mean that important members of the school are integrated into the project team from the very beginning in order to inspire and enable them to acquire the necessary skills for the implementation of further steps in developing the school.
Establishing structures and services
In addition, it is possible to create health-promoting framework conditions by encouraging new structures and services with lasting effects In a municipality, for example, a new agenda for health promotion could be set and new, common procedures for inter-sectoral collaboration be developed. These results mean that the community is acknowledging responsibility for investing in its population’s health and for developing a culture of inter-sectoral collaboration.
A final example of sustainable implementation is the multiplication of the results (see Valorisation). Projects are often developed and implemented with the implicit idea that products or offers will be accepted by other actors. Such objectives are only successful if actual multiplication is planned from the onset and if any partners are involved in the development.
Sustainable implementation is also achieved if an existing innovative product is taken on instead of developing it from scratch. This increases the chances of such a product or service becoming more widely established.
At the end of a project it is essential to examine what has or has not been achieved to meet the targets and to assess the quality of any results. It is worthwhile looking at the results in terms of lasting effects: examine them and consider whether there is further potential for optimal use or of securing sustainability (see Valorisation).
- Landon, M. (2006) Environment, Health and Sustainable Development (Understanding Public Health). Open University Press.
- Although you are seeking to obtain sustainable effects you do not want to commit yourself, or even formulate indicators about them
- You are focusing too much on the result at the end of the project and the daily tasks ahead. You lose sight of the long term goal.
- Thinking and planning beyond the end of the project also opens up new perspectives for innovative, sustainable measures.
- You increase the chance of reaching real and lasting results by the end of the project.
- Think about actual effects that will persist beyond the project.
- Formulate indicators of framework conditions that must be met in order to consider them as having a lasting effect.
- Work with the outcome model. It will help you when considering fields where effects occur and the chains of effects.
- What lasting effects should remain after the project is completed?
- At what levels (socially, economically, environmentally, ...) are the desired lasting effects?
- Was equal opportunities considered as a sustainable aspect in the project?