By now, most of the world has seen Simon Sinek’s TED talk: Start With Why. If you haven’t, you should. And if you don’t want to take the time, that’s fine, because I’m going to tell you about it here.
Simon draws three concentric circles on a board, labeling the outermost ‘What’, the middle ring ‘How’, and the center ring ‘Why.’ He makes the case that most marketing ploys start from the outside, telling you what they do. Overtly successful companies, like Apple, flip the order – first telling you why they do what they do. The ‘why’ is what resonates and helps you connect with the company on a deeper level. He makes the same case for work; everyone can tell you what they do, most people can tell you how they do it, but defining the ‘why’ is harder and arguably more important.
Lucky for us, Facebook did the research and figured out why people work. They narrowed it down to three main buckets: Career, Community, and Cause. Career refers to the usual suspects: Money, autonomy, growth, and trajectory. Community is the relational aspect of work: Who we spend time around and how they make us feel. Cause is the big picture: The impact our work has on the world and the collective mission we are pursuing.
At Useagility, our mission is simple: “Deliver human-centered design and technology solutions that create measurable results for our clients.” We are here to serve our clients, and in turn, serve our clients’ end users. In IDEO’s words: “Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving…It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor made to suit their needs.”
People are our ‘why’. As a team, we have collectively signed up to fulfill this mission. Individually, this mission manifests itself in a variety of ways. I asked our team what our mission means to them and how they see it play out in their work, and their responses reminded me why I came to Useagility in the first place:
“For me the mission is very intuitive. I’ve always approached everything I’ve designed or built with the understanding and intention that actual people will be using the product or application. Those users are depending on the designers and developers that built “the thing” to provide them something they can use as naturally and effortlessly as possible. The analytic side of my thinking demands measurable proof to validate if and how successful we are.” – Matt Shoaf, Director of Technology Solutions
“As the Director of Delivery Solutions, I take Useagility’s mission statement to heart – it is literally my job every day to make sure the work we do makes a difference for our clients and their users. We keep the human user at the heart of our designs, our solutions, and everything we do. We’re users too, so if something doesn’t make sense to us, or doesn’t feel like the right solution, we just don’t do it. We also work really hard to strike a balance with the needs of our clients and consider how our work impacts their organization and their ability to support the end product after our engagement is complete.” – Lisa Latas, Director of Delivery Solutions
“Putting users at the heart of everything we do is what sets our work apart from other digital transformation initiatives. By focusing on the humans that use products and services, we create solutions that not only achieve business goals but also alleviate frustration. And that’s what really motivates me: The opportunity to use thoughtful design and technology to make people’s lives better. Making someone’s workday less stressful so that they can go home and be a better partner/parent/friend has incredible ripple effects.” – Julie Klima, Managing Director
“Our mission clarifies the purpose of my work every day, knowing that I am creating next-generation experiences for users, as well as bringing return on investment for our clients. It reminds me to prioritize the user’s needs over my own opinions each time I come to a decision point in my work, fully embracing the “human-centered” part of design.” – Anna Challacombe, Experience Designer
“The Useagility mission is important to me because it is a reflection of a deeper mission I have for everything I do: Serve people. What we do is more human than what words can capture because what we are actually doing is building relationships. Relationship-building is the cornerstone of human-centered design. Whether with customers, business stakeholders, users, investors, or simply people with challenges, we can work with them to create results. Our mission statement plays out everyday in my work while I act with others to uncover otherwise hidden information and then leverage it to generate effective designs.” – Lars Erickson, Experience Design Associate
“To me it means that people are at the heart of everything that we do. Those ‘people’ are stakeholders, users, developers, and so many other players. We can’t design for a single role or the solutions we develop would not be plausible. It is important to me in how my role plays out that our design and technology solutions are not only human-centered but also based in reality.” – Melissa Sorrick, Director of Experience Design
“To me, our mission focuses on the human at the end of the digital line. We’re designing and creating experiences that make people’s lives just a little bit better/easier.” – Hannah Hitchcock, Director of Experience Design
I love the way our team loves and is energized by our work. We know what we do (create design and technology solutions), we know how we do it (we have great people who implement our processes), and above all, we know our ‘why’: We are here to make people’s lives better.
What’s your ‘why’?