It is unusual, risky even, to put values 'out there' on a professional website. Especially when for me, as for most of humanity, there is a distance between who I aspire to be and who I am. Anyway here is who I try to be and what I try to bring to my work. If we work together I hope values will inform our collaboration. Take this page as an invitation to challenge me when I do not live up to what's here and a request to accept me anyway.
Some of the key principles that inform my work are:
I am not in this game for what I earn, nor even what I learn - though both are collateral benefits. I work to make a small contribution to the planet I dream of, so only choose to work with projects whose big picture I believe in
Equality is not only just but also essential in order to approach complex problems that have no formal answers. Hierarchies simply exclude people from being part of a solution. I also see inequality as the major obstacle between humans and solutions to our social and environmental issues. If I work with you at some level I must believe your project increases equality.
For me human wealth at the price of environmental degradation is not development. Development must enhance humanity-and-the-environment-in-which we're-nested taken as a whole. It is unlikely that we will work fruitfully together if what you see as a successful project has a negative environmental impact. A difficult tension in international work is my carbon footprint. I genuinely include it when considering accepting an assignment and if we work together I may ask to modify plans to minimise travel. My wife and I impose a carbon tax on ourselves and donate to environmental organizations.
Boundaries and divisions between people is one of the biggest hurdles to what I think of as development. I am positive about reducing these and am unlikely to work with a project that increases divisions. Common ways people exclude others today are by gender, ethnicity, caste, financial barriers, geographic exclusion... and many others. They are all wrong. The unpredictable nature of our work space means an unexpected consequence of an intervention may be exclusion of some people. Should that happen I’d want a project be able to iteratively modify itself to reduce such effects.
Whatever your intervention is, for me it has to be fair. I bring a justice lens to projects, looking for those that increase the fair distribution of what this planet has.
In addition to these big picture values that I project onto the world I also try to live and work with honesty, transparency, diligence, respect for others and their beliefs, kindness and acceptance. An easy introduction to me and how I think is this keynote address I gave to Auckland Medical students in 2014.
If we work together lets deliberately allow values to underpin what we do.