Principles & values

These are the evolving principles and values that guide our Open Call process, and the ways by which we prioritise and reinforce them.

Together, our principles and values form the foundation of the culture we hope to create and maintain for all those who participate in our Open Calls and become part of Reset's network.

Principles

We adhere to the following principles as we make our day-to-day decisions in the Open Calls process:

  • Data privacy advances human rights: Sustain and advance individual data privacy protections in everything we do. In the digital age, the misuse of personal information facilitates discrimination, deteriorates free expression, disrupts citizen participation in government, and endangers many other declared human rights. We believe the best way to defend human rights today is by advancing data privacy.

  • Tell the truth, be trusted: “Honesty is a gift we can give to others, a source of power, and an engine of simplicity. Knowing that we told the truth in the past leaves us nothing to keep track of (paraphrasing Sam Harris' Lying)." Does what we do help us become a more trusted community member?

  • We know very little: View every situation as an opportunity to learn, practice active listening, give feedback without fear, and be more interested in learning than being right.

  • Be human-centered: Measure the actual impact of what we do and what we support by evaluating the experience of those who are at the receiving end of the engagement. We view our work as building relationships by conducting transactions.

  • Communicate clearly: We speak our loudest and clearest with what and how we fund when we are succinct, candid, and kind.

  • Breadth over depth, but also reach: Always think about things in the broader sense, what broader effects it could have, while focusing on a specific challenges or solutions (not either/or).

  • Assume scarcity: Always try to stretch the resources we have, get excited when things have multiple uses, spend money like it is the last, and maintain a runway.

  • Life balance: This is a long-term challenge and we want as many people to join and thrive in that time, so it is important to take time off and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Being a primarily remote-only team is a large part of the solution.

  • Uphold our values: Make all our decisions based on the values detailed below, even if it is inconvenient.

Values

The following interlinked values (Results, Change, Transparency, Diversity, Efficiency, and Collaboration) help define our interactions and protect our culture:

  • Results: We do what we promise to each other, applicants, supported projects, those who support us, our other stakeholders, and the public. We expect the same in return.

  • Change: We believe the greatest ideas are iterative innovations - supported by healthy ecosystems that share, use, and build openly and collaboratively; built by embracing change through experimentation, reflection, and adaptation without fear of failure.

  • Transparency: We strive to be open about as many things as possible and to share openly and in a non-competitive fashion all possible aspects of our work with the public and other stakeholders

    (including what we did, how we did it, and what we learned). In this, we practice the doctrine of open philanthropy and governance, and seek to make collaboration easier and reduce the threshold for others to contribute.

  • Diversity: We are committed to creating an environment where all voices feel valued, included, and empowered to bring their perspectives to the table and have agency in formulating solutions. This foundational commitment and emphasis on diversity is baked into everything we do as an organisation. As such, we will constantly strive to better support underrepresented voices in the communities we support and work that we do.

  • Efficiency: We care about working on and supporting the right things, not doing more than needed, not duplicating work, and working smarter not harder. This enables us to achieve more progress, have a greater effect, and be a part of larger impacts - which makes the work we do more fulfilling.

  • Collaboration: Helping others is our priority, even when it is not immediately related to the goals that we are trying to achieve.

Values can be prioritised

Each of the interlinked values discussed above help guide our actions and fundamentally shape Reset's culture. Occasionally, however, there may be instances where these values contradict or come into conflict with one another. For example, transparency might dictate that we publicly publish all applications the moment they are submitted. Yet doing so could potentially jeopardise the ultimate results of an applicant's work. Being aware of these potential conflicts helps us to resolve confusion about what to do in specific circumstances, while still remaining broadly consistent with our beliefs. Our values, in certain instances, can therefore be prioritised as follows:

Values

Why in this order

Results

It is most important for us to focus on impact

Change

Transparency

We trust these values will lead to better results

Diversity

Efficiency

Collaboration

These values distinguish applicants and us to others

Reflecting on our values in any given context necessarily requires accepting nuance rather than thinking only in absolutes. If one believes values-based decisions are binary or zero sum, coming to a decision will typically not go well - and often may result in failure. Fluidity and reasonableness are key. Notably, even the order of priority discussed above may not be absolute in all circumstances. Each specific context will determine which values are ultimately the most important to be adhered to. Nonetheless, setting a default priority of values is our attempt to ground the process (and also achieve greater transparency). Doing so will not preempt or direct every debate, but it will help all parties better understand where we are coming from and what we hope to achieve. There will always be interpretation, there is always magnitude to consider, and that is welcome.

We maintain an awareness that values are not always held equally in a manner that makes it clear, in the end, which matters most in any given context. For instance, we are not going to be transparent or diverse for the sake of it. We are not radical or trying to virtue signal these values. We do it because evidence supports working openly, improving diversity, and being inclusive leads to better outcomes.

How we reinforce these values

The behavior we reward is the best reflection of our values. Therefore, we reinforce our values by:

  1. Expecting these values from each member of the Open Call team.

  2. Referring to our values in each application decision we make.

  3. Prioritising applicants and rewarding those who most embody our values.

  4. Utilising value-based criteria when evaluating the success and impact of our Open Calls and the individual efforts we support.

  5. Always accepting feedback about our values (and updating them as often as necessary).