When you think about the work that you do – the companies you join, the teams you're a part of, even the projects you take on – how often is your approach to that work determined by values?
Sure, a lot of us have chosen to go into work that feels like it aligns with our personal values - but that's not what I mean. Rather, I'm talking about overarching values that either you, your employer or your team have set as guiding principles. If you had to describe the North Star of what you do at work and how you make decisions, what would that star look like and where would it take you?
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the very nice community of Bozeman, Montana and speak on the campus of Montana State. The title of my talk was "Creativity, Design Thinking and the Crowd" and my intention was to talk about how OpenIDEO approaches the intersection of design thinking and crowdsourcing in its own way.
As I prepared my slides and delivered my talk, however, I realized that my presentation – more than anything – was an exploration of the values that we hold dear as part of the OpenIDEO team and, by extension, as members of the OpenIDEO community.
In the end, I circled around 10 core values that I believe currently steer and ground the work we do:
- We’re about people
- We design for inclusion
- We focus on collaboration, not competition
- We speak to different motivations
- We invest in framing the question
- We use a process
- We’re transparent
- We design with, not for
- We believe in-person matters, too
- We leave room for emergence.
Interestingly, having had some time to reflect on the experience of delivering this talk, I'm actually not sure that this list couldn't benefit from some refinement, a couple of additions, and maybe even some edits. Perhaps that’s true with all workplace values – they are subject to change with time and perspective. Regardless of what stage of development they're in, many of the values I’ve outlined in my talk have been true to me for some time and remain that way to me right now, like a badge of honor that I wear proudly everyday at work.
What values do you 'wear to work' each day? Are they codified somewhere in writing, or are they more reflective of an informal, collective mindset that you and your team share? I'd love to hear what you think.