A set of tools that support Pledge Works by helping you write and examine your pledges from a broader ethical perspective.

Note: This tool is still under development; we are seeking broader validation in different contexts. Join the discussion to share your experience, ask questions, and make suggestions for improvement.

About this tool

During the writing part of Pledge Works, it is helpful to explore and visualize how your pledges, your purpose, values, principles, and other pledges fit together. The Pledge Toolbox offers different approaches for exploring this broader ethical landscape.

As a fully remote team, we developed these approaches on an online whiteboard but it is equally effective to draw on a physical whiteboard or paper. We encourage you to experiment with different tools and formats in order to find what works best for you. Keep in mind that the resulting pledges should be copied to whichever tool you’re using to keep track of implementation tasks, not hidden away from view in a separate ethics document.

Ethical Solar System

A graphic of the Ethical Solar System. In the middle there is a yellow circle called PURPOSE -- Why are we doing this? -- , surrounded by a green circle VALUES -- What is important to us? -- which in turn is surrounded by a blue circle PRINCIPLES -- What is the right thing to do? -- and a purple circle that surrounds all elements with the title PLEDGES -- How will we act responsibly within the given context? There are smaller circles on each of the surrounding circles to show that each element of the ethical solar system has multiple entities.

The Ethical Solar System is a tool for visualizing and exploring relationships between your purpose, values, core principles, and the context-based pledges you write. We find it especially helpful to identify blind spots and explore pledge coverage. Using circles to map elements makes it easier to move elements closer together; you might play with size to indicate the importance or depth of a certain element.

Example: here is how we used the Ethical Solar System to map ResponsibleTech.Work purpose, values, principles – our core pledges –, and context-based pledges related to tool development. This Ethical Solar System map helped us see that most of our tool pledges are closely related to our first pledge of respecting people, while other core pledges are not covered at all. We might decide this is fine given the scope of the tools we’re developing or we might want to write additional pledges related to each of our core pledges. Either way, the Ethical Solar System provides a good starting point for discussion.

The example shows the elements described above with ResponsibleTech.Work's purpose, values, principles and tools related pledges filled in the colored circles. Most of the tools-related pledges in purple circles are clustered around the pledge about respecting people.

Ethics Tree

A graphic showing a tree with different ethical elements mapped to tree parts. Purpose is the soil in which the tree grows, values are the roots that feed the tree, the core principles form the trunk of the tree, product branches grown from the trunk, and pledges are the leaves that grow on individual product branches.

The Ethics Tree is a tool you can use to map your ethical elements as a living organism, with context-based pledges drawn as leaves on product branches that grow from your purpose, values, and core principles. This tool might be especially useful for organizations with multiple products.

Example: We mapped the same elements as in the Ethical Solar System above onto the Ethics Tree. Our small team is probably not the best fit for the Ethics Tree given that we don’t have a branching mix of products, but our simple example gives you an idea of how we imagine the Ethics Tree being used in practice. It’s not as good at revealing relationships between pledges and principles, but its strength is in making sure your purpose, values, and principles support all your product branches. You can also use it to check how products relate to each other.

The tree from the graphic above with filled in ResponsibleTech.Work elements, the same as in the Ethical Solar System example above.