University of Wisconsin–Madison

The 5 Principles

Principle 1: Understand and Involve the Customer

This one principle has a greater impact on success than the other four combined.

Principle 2: Fix Key Problems

If a change project is to be successful, it needs the full support of the agency’s leadership. The way to ensure that support is by addressing the problems that truly matter to the CEO.

Principle 3: Choose a Powerful Change Leader

The change leader must be many things to many people: she must have the CEO’s ear, and be close enough to ask for and receive the resources needed for the project. The change leader must also possess leadership skills and have the respect of her peer

Principle 4: Get Ideas From Outside the Field

Developing innovative solutions to entrenched problems often requires looking beyond the boundaries of the familiar and shaking things up a bit. Looking at practices of other industries is a way to push beyond those boundaries, and it’s often there t

Principle 5: Use Rapid-cycle Testing

NIATx change projects are structured around what we call “rapid-cycle” testing: a series of change cycles conducted in quick succession. Change teams test potential changes to an existing process and evaluate the results using Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA

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