The Values of the Practice and the Practice of Values

There has been much debate on the relevance and impact of values of and to an organisation. It is clear that when values try to describe the permanently developing culture, they motivate and guide the individual and collective behaviour. However, many organisations end up resorting to the same set of descriptors, thus losing the long-awaited uniqueness of values. In other organisations, there is a detachment between the way the organisation operates and the declared values.

Despite the five values of INESC TEC ​​being associated with its distinctive motto of promoting a ubiquitous intelligence, do we act because of them? Or do they come from the 35-year road that has been travelled? And are they recognised by everyone?

Freedom of research, which is properly marked by ethical and deontological principles, allows us to challenge established paradigms and the frontier of knowledge. The results of the research are constantly scrutinised, reviewed and validated by the international scientific community. But will we have autonomy to choose what to research? Where and when to publish? Isn’t this freedom being held hostage by several circumstances that condition our performance?

The obsession with valuing knowledge, maximizing the technology transfer and converting new advances in social and economic impact, results in the search for Excellence in Innovation, a really important topic for INESC TEC’s sustainability. But doesn’t this obsession clouds the objectivity in characterising the Technology Readiness Level (TRLs) that are associated with the maturity of each technology? Are we able to power each stage of the knowledge value chain?

Cooperation tends to materialise internally, by bringing together people and groups from different scientific areas in order to solve high complexity challenges in a holistic and multidisciplinary approach, and externally, with partners who should promote the ambition of our intervention. But are we enhancing the cross-fertilisation of knowledge, by extending the space of solutions? Can our egos give priority to the individual interests for the benefit of the collective ones?

The Focus on the People is even more important in an institution like INESCTEC, not only because of the coexistence of multiple collaborators’ profiles with very different expectations, spread throughout 13 research centres in 6 poles, but also because of the two hundred highly specialised professionals that we transfer to our partners every year. Is there a continuous alignment process between the interests and skills of the collaborator and the opportunities offered by INESC TEC? Is talent managed and developed throughout its life cycle in the organisation?

The fifth value, Social Responsibility, is expressed daily with the close relationship between the public policy recommendations that INESC TEC formulates and the real problems of society, and in the social relevance of the research that it develops. The spirit of public service emerges from our activity. At the same time, do we promote a responsible organisational behaviour based on ethical, participatory and environmentally sustainable practices?

Are these the aspirational values? Are they already part of our DNA? In order to be imparted, it is imperative that we ask ourselves about each of their practices. Only this way can they inspire and guide our modus operandi, for the benefit of all stakeholders: collaborators, clients, partners and associates!

Bernardo Almada Lobo, Member of INESC TEC’s Board

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