Start with values: innovation can be about achieving what you believe in
There is an increasing expectation from users, investors, and employees for organisations that understand their role in society and try to make a positive difference while having minimal negative consequences.
Showing that your organisation actively considers and cares about its impact on the world is becoming one of the most important levers for growing a successful business. In particular, attracting and retaining talent relies on your organisation’s ability to demonstrate to its people that it understands its responsibilities. Our research with 1010 UK tech practitioners found the vast majority say it’s important to consider the consequences of technology on people and society (79%), and that companies have a responsibility to do so (80%).
What this means for a Responsible Innovator
Understanding, clearly articulating, and committing to your organisational values is the first step to better business planning and more responsible digital metrics
Organisational values and responsibility
If you’re creating something new that might evolve in ways you can’t predict, you are often faced with needing to make decisions between benefitting your organisation, your users, or the communities you operate within. This is why you need to do the hard and often painful work of creating an organisation with strong values and a culture that is clearly defined for everyone. Knowing how your organisation’s purpose, vision, and values guide you when forced to make difficult trade-off decisions is essential in being responsible for the consequences of your technology.
Building responsible organisations with values
It can be tempting when starting something new to dive right in and figure it out as you go. But rather than starting with lofty ethical statements, with user needs, or with jobs to be done, starting with values can give your business plan or product strategy a clear and shared direction. It also happens to be the greatest way to scale; you can hire and fire against your values, and a shared understanding of them empowers people to make decisions without direct oversight or controls.
Making values real by questioning the consequences
The best way to make values that are useful to the people in your organisation is to ground them in the messiness of the real world. Telling stories about the trade-offs and the consequences of decisions made at every layer of an organisation can help in codifying what you want to achieve and how you want to get there. Then you need to connect strategy, policy, and delivery through principles and practices that address the trade-offs your teams are faced with.
Bringing organisational values into your products
Expectations now go beyond having great sounding values on your website; your people want to practice those values every day and be proud of what they are creating. Investors want to know upfront what you value and prioritise. Users want to see those values in the products they use. To bring the values of your organisation into the products you create, they ultimately need to translate into product objectives and KPIs. Responsible metrics should measure how well your product delivers your organisational values and provide a guide for the collective responsibility of those within your organisation for the products they put into the world.
Get started on transforming your organisation
If you’re concerned about the way technology is made today and want to change your organisation, here’s how you can get started:
Champion responsible technology
Start a discussion on why being responsible is a business imperative.