Six core principles guide Carnegie's work. They are:
Make the work problem-specific and user-centered. It starts with a single question: “What specifically is the problem we are trying to solve?” It engages key practitioners early and often as co-developers.
Variation in performance is the core problem to address. The critical issue is not simply what works but rather what works for whom and under what set of conditions. Local context considerations lead to variability in implementation in ways that reduce effectiveness. Aim to advance efficacy reliably and at scale, adapt to local contexts, but test those adaptations to warrant them as improvements.
Observe the system that produces the current outcomes. It is hard to improve what you do not fully understand. See how local conditions shape work processes. Make your hypotheses for change public and clear.
We cannot improve at scale what we cannot measure. Embed measures of key outcomes and processes to track whether changes are improvements. We intervene in complex organizations. Anticipate unintended consequences and measure them too.
Anchor practice improvement in disciplined inquiry. Engage rapid cycles of plan, do, study, act (PDSA) to learn fast, fail fast, and improve quickly. That failures occur is not the problem; that we fail to learn from them is.
Accelerate improvements through networked communities. Embrace the wisdom of crowds.