Unlocking the Language of Digital Ethics
In the past, the Danish company Minders found it tricky to make ethics a tangible part of their daily work. But after a course on The Digital Ethics Compass, they found a new language and approach to ethics. The experience ultimately led to the creation of their own ethics manifesto that now guides their ongoing decisions in developing digital learning solutions
Results: A daily commitment to ethics
The learning specialist Minders are reaping the rewards of incorporating ethics into their daily operations. After participating in a series of workshops on The Digital Ethics Compass, the company has significantly improved its decision-making and understanding of ethical considerations in its product development.
After working with the compass, Minders has:
- Developed a new common language that enables the understanding of how to bring ethics into digital learning solutions
- Recently, the company published its own Ethics Manifesto, outlining five design principles that guide its approach to ethics. At the moment, the manifest is particularly relevant for the development of their upcoming adaptive behavioral profile Persona
- Become aware of how to proactively make decisions to ensure all user data remains safe and secure in all new solutions.
"During the course, we gained a common understanding and language for discussing ethics and, more importantly, putting it into practice. Digital ethics went from the abstract to the concrete, eventually leading to the creation of our own Ethics Manifesto."
Co-Founder and COO, Minders
The Challenge: Trust relies on ethics
Minders specialize in digital learning solutions and work primarily with consultants and educational institutions active in leadership development and corporate training. Their mission is to empower clients to integrate learning into their daily practice seamlessly.
The company’s products and services are diverse and cater to the specific needs of its customers. However, one common thread among all their solutions is that they rely heavily on user trust. And their upcoming adaptive behavioral profile, Persona, is no exception.
Persona is designed to be a tool for ongoing development and learning rather than just a one-time assessment with little practical use. The creation of Persona has also been a driving force in Minders’ focus on digital ethics. Especially as the profile delves into sensitive personal areas that can impact the user’s self-perception, it is crucial to navigating the potential ethical dilemmas to ensure the user’s well-being.
“Our goal is to protect and help users so that the product adds value to their lives, not the opposite as we see with many digital services and platforms today. We need to build it on trust, which requires ethical design from A to Z,” says Natacha Vinding, Co-Founder of Minders, about the development of Persona.
"As a company, we have a huge responsibility in developing this product ethically. We need to devise a new approach to combat the digital addiction and other downsides affecting an increasing number of people today."
Mikkel Gade Larsen
Co-Founder & CEO, Minders
The Approach: Like an episode of “Black Mirror”
Minders participated in a two-day workshop on the Digital Ethics Compass facilitated by our project partner, the design agency Charlie Tango. The workshop provided a platform for the company to delve into critical issues related to the development of Persona. Also, it led to the creation of an actual ethics manifesto that will guide all future product development decisions.
Even though ethics is no stranger to Minders, having worked with the Data for Good Foundation for quite some time, they’ve been seeking ways to make ethics a more integral and tangible part of their daily operations.
The workshops proved to be a revelatory experience for Minders, especially as they got a glimpse into the potential negative impact of neglecting ethics in product development.
“It was like a real-life Black Mirror episode,” some of the participating employees said – you know, the popular Netflix series that explores technology’s severe consequences and dangers. Based on the behavioral profile, Persona, Minders discussed and evaluated various challenging (un)ethical scenarios, ultimately serving as a powerful reminder of the importance of operating ethically in every aspect of their business.
"During the first workshop, we explored some extreme Black Mirror scenarios, which was a fun way to make ethics concrete. It sparked important conversations about our product development and what needs to be addressed."
Co-Founder and COO, Minders
This unconventional design approach and journey through the course has made an enormous difference for Minders. The compass has sparked meaningful and crucial conversations about what matters most to the company when designing digital products and how to act ethically.
While it’s still a learning process, Minders has found a new language for ethics – one that is so effective that every employee knows how to balance it with their daily work. Not only as a moral imperative but also as a competitive advantage as more and more customers demand ethically responsible solutions.
Minders specialize in creating digital solutions that promote long-term learning retention. Their philosophy is ‘making learning stick,’ meaning their solutions are designed to integrate learning into daily practice rather than being a one-time event. Minders work primarily with consultants and educational institutions active in leadership development and corporate training.
About the Digital Ethics Compass
The Digital Ethics Compass is a toolkit that helps companies make the right decisions from a design ethical standpoint. It’s a simple and practical tool and learning program (a series of workshops) that enables companies to build an ethical foundation for their future financial growth. We developed the Compass with various Danish companies within Fin-, Health- and Mobility-tech, and digital design.
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