Educational innovations have rarely lived up to the expectations of their proponents and have often been reshaped, adopted half-heartedly, ignored or rejected. The difficulty of successfully implementing innovations and the complexity of the change process are now widely acknowledged. Curriculum renewal attempts in the Hong Kong context have also been problematic, with classroom practitioners often not implementing reforms disseminated by centralised government agencies. This paper focuses on Hong Kong's Target-Oriented Curriculum (TOC), a major curriculum renewal initiative designed to improve the quality of learning in local primary schools. The paper describes the innovation, the context into which it is being introduced, and a number of factors that proved problematic in the management of change. The discussion focuses on five elements in the change process, namely practicality, ownership, teacher attitudes, teacher training and resources. From this analysis, some of the implications for curriculum implementation, both in Hong Kong and elsewhere, are identified and discussed. Copyright © 1997 Kluwer Academic Publishers.