For background on how this project got started, we want to share some history behind this project to help make ethical considerations more concrete.
We started the project in 2018 after doing some research on examples of ethical trade-offs in the wild. Diving into some insightful writing on the topic from folks like Cathy O’Neil, Joy Buolamwini, and Tristan Harris, we started to consider how we might apply these ideas of ethical product development in our own team.
Ethics is a lofty topic – millennia-old and subject to endless theorizing and debate. That said, we can take action by — at the very least — recognizing and avoiding potential harm. We developed the ethics assessment with the aim of putting this basic principle into practice.
This assessment has been our labor of love, and is at the heart of our work with various teams at Spotify and on the road at design conferences. Each time we’ve facilitated a workshop, we’ve been moved and inspired by the thoughtful conversations that come out of simply asking the right questions. We hope it helps push the conversation on ethics forward for your team, too.