A framework for interoperability


During the first Stewards of Change™ national conference in 2005, we introduced our Theory of Change model as a means of organizing innovation within child welfare and human services. The intent was to provide a structure for rethinking the field’s overall business approach. It defined change as evolutionary or revolutionary in nature, and identified three core domains of change: policy, structure and practice.

Since then, we have refined this model based on additional research, consulting engagements and case study development. We have explored the impact of emerging technology trends and interoperability on the creation of new operational models within child welfare, courts, human services and, more recently, health and education. And we have learned that interoperability can serve as a stimulus and enabler of the systematic change that human service leaders have desired for so long.

Every year state and local governments spend an estimated $14 billion on HHS systems. And unlike private industry, with its more rapid redeployment cycle, government agencies usually make major information system changes only once every 10 years or so. Today’s leaders must more fully understand interoperability trends to effectively guide their organizations through these IT decisions, which have such long-range impact. What’s more, the recent tsunami of investment in health IT has accelerated the drive toward interoperability.


To meet that challenge, we have refined and expanded our Theory of Change to describe the process for achieving interoperability we named Human Services 2.0™ – InterOptimability™. “Human Services 2.0” describes the long-term vision of a connected and coordinated HHS system. It serves as the framework for “InterOptimability,” the overall process of assessing, planning, implementing and monitoring interoperability initiatives.

Read: Human Services 2.0: A Framework for Interoperability>

 For leaders seeking practical approaches to move their organizations toward interoperable and integrated information resources, we are very pleased to offer HS 2.0: Getting Started on the Road to Interoperability.  This primer provides brief reviews of SOC’s uniquely effective interoperability concepts, discusses the HS 2.0 Theory of Change and its application to effective and efficient HHS service delivery, and highlights the key elements of the SOC facilitation methodology.  The information presented will help you get started - or refine - your thinking, planning and preparation for implementing interoperability.