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At ThoughtWorks, we have many great technological projects, and brilliant coworkers. But beyond all that is a power for social good that is out at work in the world. Today, many of us are involved in ongoing projects with UNICEF and other non-profit organizations, helping solve fundamental human issues with technology. Last winter North America had an all-hands, and we brought in people like Merrick who’s helping the world with mobile SMS based apps at UNICEF. And we have Jeff Wishnie who is a Silicon Valley veteran, paragliding instructor, and now our Director of Social Engagement. He brings both socially aligned clients, and goes out and leads missions into all parts of the world using technology to better humanity.
ThoughtWorks has three distinct pillars that describe it:
- First it needs to be a sustainable business.
- Second it champions software excellence.
- Third it has a passion for social and economic justice.
Our founder and chairman, Roy Singam, sent a great email out a few days ago that inspired this post, and reminded me the importance of how each of us choose to spend our working hours. Over coffee and engaging life-beyond-mere-profitability conversations he gave me permission to quote him:
“Being part of an organization that advances a cause is an important. Associating with people who collectively encourage moral behavior is one of the most important decisions one makes in life. To ignore this and treat these decisions as simple career decisions (or give a little guilt money) is avoiding moral responsibility.”
We have ThoughtWorkers on the ground in real projects working with global and local NGO’s that allow us to directly apply technology, process design, and lean management to changing the world. The mobile space is especially exciting.
I believe future proof, profitable corporations, with reason beyond profit will retain the most capable employees, and provide lasting global impact as 100-year socially-positive companies. Profit, smarts, and growth is essential, but the meaning of work-life must extend beyond the bottom line.