our values

Information Ecology serves progressive and social justice organizations because so many of the movements they comprise have served as our staff’s political, intellectual, and spiritual homes. As longtime leaders and participants in movements for gender, racial, and economic justice we are honored to bring our expertise to bear on improving the technological and operational functioning of organizations working toward visions that we share.

Inspired by the “whole systems” thinking that animates the field of permaculture, we see information systems not just as sets of digital tools but as rich ecosystems, deeply enmeshed in the groups in which they’re used and inextricably connected to organizational missions.

Because we believe in strengthening our sector through capacity building, we approach every project as an opportunity for an organization to improve not just a technical system but all the work practices that touch it, as well as the alignment between an organization’s technology and its mission, vision, and values.

At Information Ecology, our values show up in these principles for our work.

Your mission and your work should lead your tools (not the other way around).

We make our recommendations based on your work and your needs, not because we prefer one piece of software over another. Not that we don’t have opinions. We do, and we will happily share them, with full transparency and an eye on the pros and cons most relevant to your organization.

Those most affected by a system have the most insight about it.

It’s your team, working daily with your information systems, who know best how to do their jobs. In designing tools to support your work, we use a human-centric process that honors and values each individual’s experience of their daily tasks. We see staff members’ reports, observations, complaints, and suggestions as a critical part of any system’s design process.

We seek holistic collaboration and partnership with our clients.

We don’t want to come into your organization, create some deliverables, and leave. We want to build a shared understanding of your information system needs and how they relate to your programs, and work with you to meet those needs for the long haul.

We cultivate a safe environment for talking and learning about technology and information systems.

Jargon, lingo, and excessive acronyms are all too often used as gatekeeping strategies. We are much more interested in sharing our expertise than guarding it. We always strive to talk about technology in plain language, and to answer any and all questions with as much—or as little—technical detail as is wanted.

We won’t waste your money, or your time.

As former nonprofit staff members, we have a deep understanding of resource constraints as well as an appreciation for your hardworking team. We are committed to stewarding your resources responsibly, with a sliding rate scale, tight project management, and clear and concise communication. More fundamentally, we will decline to make a proposal if we don’t think our participation in a project is a wise use of your organization’s resources.

We are committed to contributing to a global knowledge commons.

We develop tools and resources as open content, including the contents of this website. We use open source software as much as we can, and actively contribute to the projects most important to us. We extend this approach to our work with clients, helping organizations identify opportunities to use or develop open source software as well as to create and disseminate open content in achieving their mission.