Reflections on the HSI Why
The HSI team has always used innovative approaches and technologies to help integrate people and systems (and people in systems). While we’ve never had an easy time concisely explaining what we do, both we and our clients have come to a happy understanding of WHAT we do. We have often used formal terms like “Human Systems Integration” and “Human Factors” to describe to others what we do. Alas, these terms are not as self-evident to everyone as they seem to us, and they haven’t always helped people outside of our area understand what we really care about. Consequently, this may have distanced us from some of the people that we’re trying to help.
Although jargon can be easy to use, it’s also easy to hide behind. Relying on jargon to talk about WHAT we do at HSI® might have inadvertently prevented us from feeling a need to explain WHY we do it. Even our previous website didn’t adequately show our passion. That’s unfortunate because if you interact with any member of the HSI® Team, you will quickly learn that we have a lot of passion for what we do! We realized that we needed to get in touch with the HSI® WHY and with the shared story that drives and motivates us.
As the scientists and engineers that we are, we worked to get closer to the HSI® Why. So, we sat down in groups and began to talk about our personal and collective WHYs. We had lots of great discussions about:
…Why Bob started the company
…Why we believe that we have unique and important services to offer potential clients
…Why we’re motivated to show up at our company every day, work hard and love our jobs
…Why many folks who worked at HSI® during the very early days are still here years later
…Why we need to keep evolving and how we might evolve
What we recognized through these meetings was that, though members of Team HSI® have different backgrounds, training and experience, we share several core beliefs that give meaning to everything we do. These core beliefs are captured by the simple statement:
“We believe that people are most important part of any system.”
Fundamental to this statement is the belief that people matter, that they should be valued, listened to, and respected. This simple statement argues that as great as technological systems are, they need to be designed in light of the human perspective – our capabilities, strengths and limits. And, if one believes that people are the most important part of any system, it makes sense to invest in understanding the strengths and limitations of people when creating new processes, products or systems. For those of us who have worked here many years, it’s been gratifying to get closer to our WHY. Although we rarely openly expressed or communicated directly about it – we live the WHY through our work. Being the left-brained scientists and engineers that we are, we typically prefer evidence and facts over emotions. However, the passion that we have for our work is most obvious when we express WHY we do what we do.