Values create the standard of a persons behavior, they influence how we make decisions and effectively run our lives. They can be instilled in us or we can choose to adopt them from our social environment such as family, religion, friends etc. One thing is certain, our values are constantly changing.
When we have strong and positive values, they will be integral to achieving what we want in this life and following our purpose in it. These vary from individual values such as honesty and loyalty to common group values such as safety, openness, trust and integrity. It is easy to say that at the core of being human are the invisible strings of values pulling you towards what you find relevant in life.
Though it is important to keep in mind that values are not goals. Goals are targets. A simple illustration that can help to clarify the difference between values and goals is that of the difference between “keeping the oceans clean” and “not littering”. “Not littering” is a value: it is an ongoing activity that can be expressed in your actions throughout your life. At any moment in your life you can choose to be guided by, and act on, that value or choose not to. “Keeping the oceans clean” is a goal: it can be completed or achieved by actively following your value of “not littering”. A value is the action you take to achieve what you want : your goal, thus a value is nothing without its goals as a goal is nothing without the values that drive it.
It is obvious now that values and goals play an important role in society, but where does responsible innovation come to play a roll in this? Innovation is a goal in itself, and responsibility is a value. Where is the balance between the two?
This is quit a difficult question to answer, as there actually really is no answer to it. Acting responsibly is a value that we all idealize in our current environmentally weak world. We want to innovate responsibly to create a stronger, better and cleaner environment. This is our goal. Now comes the tricky part. As I stated before values are undoubtedly one of the strongest aspects of human nature, but the goal of getting ahead in life -or simply said- surviving, is also at the core of human nature. The question that is at hand now is which one weighs heavier on the scale of importance. The value of responsibility or the goal of success?
Personally I think the whole dilemma pointed out above is the central reason why the earth is at the place it is now. The balance of goals and values has been shifted in a negative way, creating the sticky environmental situations we are in now. Humans quickly act in their own interest, but responsibility is a value that also concerns the interest of others and their well being. Is collectively feeling responsible for our innovations and how we leave the earth behind for others also at the core of human nature?