An organizing principle is a core assumption from which everything else by proximity can derive a classification or a value. It is like a central reference point that allows all other objects to be located. Having an organizing principle might help one simplify and get a handle on a particularly complicated domain. On the other hand, it might create a deceptive prism that colors one's judgment.
The idea of the solar system is based on the organizing principle that the sun is located at a central point, and all planets rotate around it.
Most modern cities are based on the organizing principle of the Grid plan in order to better manage transportation and addressing.
Most religions (as opposed to cults) can be described by social scientists as built around an organizing principle (for example, the divinity of Christ) that allows for the sustainable or improvable recursion of a unique population.
Organizations can be constructed around a set of organizing principles, such as concepts, priorities or goals. For example, an organization may intend to be innovative, international, quality and agile.