I believe it is important to be clear and open about the personal agenda I bring to the table if we work together. This agenda is a mix of values, goals, strategies: Things that drive me, that influence my thinking and analysis, things I will work towards. Approaches I am likely to pursue.
For me, as best as I can put it into words, my agenda includes aspects like the following (unstructured and in no particular order):
- I believe in honesty and transparency; I like to be explicit about intentions. This page making explicit my agenda is part of that.
- Society should be the focus of as much of our work as possible, not the individual. I work towards inclusion, diversity, a system that works for all.
- We should always strive to strengthen the commons. In my personal work, that means sharing as much as possible openly, and making most of my work available for free (that is, the writing/documentation; I’ll still have to charge for the advisory part). If something isn’t made available free from the very beginning, then usually under the so-called Unlocked Commons, which means that once the work is paid for at a level that allows me to keep working on things, it will then be available for free.
- Systemic thinking is powerful. I think that solutionism is bad, period. Without really understanding a problem, there is no fix. If possible, any attempts at solution should happen at the root cause.
- Often, robust processes and approaches are more important than the results: If participation, transparency, accountability are baked into a project, then it’s preferable to even the sleekest of all projects that don’t have them baked in. They’re the basis for legitimacy.
- Resilience trumps efficiency any day. Planetary health is vastly more important than economic growth. The tools and yard sticks we should use to measure progress in the 21st century aren’t clearly defined yet, but we already know that those used in the 20th century are not up to the job. (Think GDP v Doughnut Economy.)
- If it can be avoided at all, do not externalize costs and damages.
- Strategies that broaden available options are better than those that narrow available options. As a rule of thumb, you want to grow the options space, not shrink it. Exception: If only a narrow range of options lead to desirable outcomes (by the standards listed here) than less-but-the-right options are preferable.
- Small is beautiful. Brands are overrated. Marketing is just a function of any organization, never a goal in itself. Surveillance — mass surveillance, tracking ads, etc. — causes more harm than good. If in doubt, cut it out.
- Everything is political, so it’s OK — even important! — to have values and opinions, and to be clear about them.