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Create a Driver Diagram - Primary Drivers, Secondary Drivers, Change Ideas

A driver diagram organizes changes that a NIC is trying out. It gives participants a common language as they build toward a solution to a shared problem. The diagram focuses on a small set of hypotheses about key levers for improvement, specific changes that might be attempted for each, and the interconnections that may exist among them.

Step 1: Specify a measurable improvement aim (create an aim statement)

  • Example: Improve literacy proficiency for Tennessee’s third grade students

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Step 2: Identify primary drivers (best initial bets about what to target in the context of a causal systems analysis). Each driver represents a hypothesis about a change essential to improving student outcomes, and has extensive definition details as to what the driver means. Together, primary drivers offer an overview of the landscape for change.

  • Example: Standards-aligned instruction

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Step 3: Identify secondary drivers (set of hypotheses to activate each primary driver) that might function as key levers for productive change. Each secondary driver has extensive definition details as to what the driver means

  • Example: Align instruction

Step 4: Identify change ideas (new work processes that may be added, existing processes that may be changed, new tools that may need to be designed and tested, and new norms required to sustain productive change). Each change idea has a defined goal as to what it aims to accomplish and relevant details.

  • Example: Student Journey Map

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* Depending on your NIC’s NILS instance and phase, some items may appear differently in the menu bar.

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