Mission, Vision, & Values

Mission

The mission of the Lab is to apply the latest development in social science theories to lead innovation in organizational behavior patterns, mental models and awareness.

Vision

We provide the adaptive space for community members to explore and experiment with fresh ways of operating, to cultivate awareness of actions in the moment and learn from the emerging future.

Values

Diversity in Unity

Diversity and unity can be mutually constitutive. For example, in social psychology this duality is manifested in the need to conform to the group (unity) while maintaining distinctiveness as an individual (diversity). In a complex social system, such as an academic unit this duality is expressed by embracing the guiding principles and acting on them with autonomy.

A unified mission, vision, and set of values within organizations are accompanied by complex behaviors of members. To maintain unity, the organization needs to establish a shared framework adopted by every member. This creates a shared identity and common foundation on which to build. To ensure diversity, mechanisms must be put in place to foster empowerment and autonomy. The need for diversity of expression should be harnessed by the underlying unity to achieve harmony.

We uphold the value of diversity in unity by continuously monitoring mission, strategy, practices, and outcomes, and by resolving any discrepancies in a timely manner.

Capacity Building

If we think of innovative organizational practices as the destination, then we need a map and a vehicle to get there. The map is the theories that give us a conceptual understanding, and the vehicle is the new capacities we develop to bring about innovation. By continuing to learn new awareness and sensibilities, new attitudes and beliefs, new skills and capabilities, we expand our capacity to create our own future.

A learning organization is made of learning individuals and teams. We contribute to the capacity building of individuals and teams by hosting educational programs, engaging colleagues in participatory action research, and facilitating events with designed activities. We contribute to the capacity building of the entire organization by optimizing the infrastructure for vertical and horizontal information flow.

Nonlinear Thinking

The world is complex, therefore we need nonlinear thinking. Nonlinear thinking leads to high leverage systemic solutions to our most complex challenges. There is a widespread suspicion that the strategies being used to solve our most difficult problems are too superficial to get at the deeper sources of those problems. This is partially attributable to linear thinking that leads to low-leverage symptomatic intervention. Big investments do not always yield plentiful results. Small, well-focused actions can often produce significant, enduring improvements, if they are focused in the right place.

We build the capacity for nonlinear thinking by engaging robust nonlinear thinking methods, such as systems, inverse, and design thinking, as well as network analysis.