February 2016: The Good Project Newsletter
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Dear Good Project Friends,

We hope that you have all had a good start to 2016 thus far. In this month's newsletter, we share news from our colleague Wiljan Hendrikx in the Netherlands about the activities of the Dutch Professional Honor Foundation and their Good Work Hub. We also feature a video in which Howard Gardner discusses the founding of the original Good Work Project and the 3 Es of Good Work. The Good Idea of the Month is Preventing Cheating.
If you have ideas for future newsletters, would like your own work to be highlighted, or want to pass along feedback, please email Danny Mucinskas at  
The Good Team
Medical professionals and their patients hold copies of a new book about the Dutch healthcare system.

News from The Professional Honor Foundation in the Netherlands
By Wiljan Hendrikx

How can we reinvigorate professional pride? At the Dutch Professional Honor Foundation, our mission is to create political and societal awareness of the challenges faced by modern day professionals and to provide professionals of all stripes with the opportunity to reflect upon the meaning and value of their work. To realize the latter aim, the foundation has made grateful use of the Good Project’s materials, including frameworks like the three Es of good work (Excellence, Ethics and Engagement) as well as exercises from the Good Work Toolkit

We would like to share information about two of our recent activities: 1) the publication of a book aimed at transforming the Dutch healthcare system, with more trust in professionals as a basis, and 2) a workshop series on Good Work within the Dutch legal profession.

1) Monetary and other quantitative concerns are predominant in modern day healthcare. Research has painted a disturbing picture: Dutch hospitals spend 20% of their budgets on overhead; 4 out of 5 healthcare providers have little to no trust in insurance companies that devote much energy—and money—to control and performance measurement; and almost 75% of all providers have serious doubts about the competence of insurers. In the edited volume The Alternative for Healthcare (2015), healthcare professionals from a variety of specialties advocate a system change: medicine needs to be organized around the patient, with respect, honor, trust, and quality of service as guiding principles in place of cost containment. To realize this ambition, the authors argue that healthcare professionals themselves, together with patients, should be put back in the lead when it comes to organizing healthcare. The volume has stimulated debate among healthcare professionals and encouraged them to fight for a self-empowered system change.

2) Judges are a crucial countervailing force within the power structure of Western democracy. But what if judges experience managerial pressures, like increasing bureaucracy? Does that jeopardize their ability to do work that is excellent, ethical, and engaged? In order to explore and reflect upon the challenges and opportunities for judges to do good work, the Professional Honor Foundation organized four workshops with multiple groups of judges and legal staff at a high-level Dutch court. Using their own real-life dilemmas, participants were encouraged to scrutinize their experiences using exercises from Good Work Toolkit. These exercises allowed the judges to not only signal problems to one another but also to develop a shared language aimed at creating ways to tackle these problems with shared commitment. Participants have reacted positively and expressed a new sense of ‘ownership’ in their work.

Throughout 2016, we will continue our work and are encouraged by all the wonderful professionals we have met in the past few years who have inspired us and allowed us to help them understand “Good Work.”
Howard Gardner on the Good Project and the 3 Es of Good Work

In a new 5-minute video, Howard Gardner, co-founder of the Good Project's original study of Good Work, talks about the surprising event that led him to shift the focus of his research from intelligence to the meaning of the "good." He then outlines the 3 Es of Good Work: excellence (technical skill or mastery), engagement (a feeling of enjoyment or meaningful connection), and ethics (behaving in a way that demonstrates a moral understanding of one's actions). Gardner concludes by stressing that it is not enough to have grit and to persevere by using your intelligences; what is more important is that you apply yourself towards "good" ends that provide a benefit to society.

Click here to watch the video via YouTube. Special thanks to Bob Greenberg for making this video possible.
Good Idea of the Month: 
Preventing Cheating

Cheating, in all of its various forms, is an issue that receives constant media attention. We see cheating in business (companies engaging in cover-ups or altering information like financial statements), in sports (allegations of performance-enhancing drugs), in academia (both organized student dishonesty and teachers thwarting or breaking rules on standardized tests), and in other domains as well.

A recent article in Forbes by columnist Tori Utley took the downfall of pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli as an opportunity to discuss preventing cheating and encouraging ethics more widely. To truly be ethical, ethics must be reflected in everyday actions. If we allow ourselves to do something unethical once, that slip can make it easier for us to continue to behave unethically and to develop a pattern of cheating or lying. As Utley describes, "The more often you make unethical decisions, the easier those decisions become later on." The column ends with a quote from psychologist B.F. Skinner: “The consequences of an act affect the probability of its occurring again." Thus, intervention and education relatively early in life (using tools such as the GoodWork Toolkit) sets a standard of ethics and makes it easier for ethical decisions to continue in later years.

Good Project researchers Alexis Redding, Carrie James, and Howard Gardner have similarly published an article in the Winter 2016 edition of Independent School magazine titled "Nurturing Ethical Collaboration." Citing evidence of the benefits of peer collaboration but also the prevalence of cheating in high school (51% admit to cheating on a test, while 74% admit to copying a friend's homework), Redding, James, and Gardner emphasize the need to encourage students to work together and to be ethical while they do so. The piece summarizes some of the reasons that students are driven to cheat and then offers potential solutions that may stop or prevent cheating. These solutions include: powerful mentors; clear school-wide messages; alignment between teacher and student understandings of rules and boundaries; recognition and discussion of "wake-up call" events; and putting a firm end to cheating habits to prevent their future proliferation.

How do you ensure that you do ethical work on the job? Do you feel that there are supports in place for you and your colleagues to prevent cheating-type behavior? If you are an educator, what do you do to communicate the importance of ethical work to your students?
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Recent Blog Posts

Q&A with Kiran Bir Sethi, Founder of Design for Change (Part 1)
The first in a two-part series in which Kiran Bir Sethi of Design for Change talks about her organization's latest activities.

Q&A with Kiran Bir Sethi, Founder of Design for Change (Part 2)
The second in a two-part series in which Kiran Bir Sethi of Design for Change talks about the importance of teaching ethics and positive values to children. 

The Professional Ethicist: What Are Professions, and Where Do They Come From?
Howard Gardner begins to respond to the comments on his blog about the future of the professions with this post about the history of what it means for an occupation to be a profession.

The Professional Ethicist: What’s Good and What’s Bad about the Professions as Currently Constituted?
Gardner examines how professions lay claim to expertise and how far the notion of disinterested service should go.

The Professional Ethicist: The Varieties of Disinterestedness: Who should judge the judges?
Gardner debates the ideal of disinterestedness in the legal profession for judges.
Links of Interest

The Good Citizen in the Digital Era
Howard Gardner on the meaning of good citizenship for young people in the age of digital media.

Katie Davis Named APS Rising Star
Former Good Project researcher and current professor at the University of Washington Information School Katie Davis was named a rising star by the Association for Psychological Science.

Everyday Ethics: Should Frequent Guests Contribute to the Rent?
A new feature from the Ethics Centre in Sydney, Australia, about the ethical dilemmas faced in everyday life.

The costs of inequality: Education’s the one key that rules them all
The Harvard Gazette speaks with HGSE researchers, including our very own Lynn Barendsen, about closing the achievement gap.

'Fame and fortune should not be our children's only ambitions in life'
Imbuing children with positive values is urgent when society seems to uphold fame and material wealth above all else.

Priority for schools in 2016: Character education to prevent bullying
Character education focused on self-esteem, positive collaboration, responsibility, and civic participation can help stop bullying.

How Can We Fight Home-Grown Terrorism? Try Civics Class.
Civic education can be a tool of inclusive community building with positive outcomes, including the prevention of violence.

U.S. Sues Volkswagen for Alleged Pollution Cheating
Behind the decision for the United States to sue VW over its emissions fraud scandal.

Ethics went out the window when media mobbed the San Bernardino shooters' apartment
An account of unethical news coverage shines a light on a crisis in journalism ethics. 
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