The approach

WeValue is an approach to eliciting values in a group context and connecting those values to concrete and specific actions, feelings or perceptions.

The approach includes the following elements. These are adjusted for each group depending on purpose of the work, for instance, some will emphasise elicitation for ‘discovery and clarification’ of values, while others might focus on developing measurable indicators for monitoring and evaluation.

Please click to see a sample values workshop plan.

Elicitation. Elicitation of local, contextualized statements of ‘what is meaningful, worthwhile and valuable’ to group members. This can be done through brainstorming, storytelling, photo-elicitation, mapping, affective responses, or a number of other more or less creative methods. The level of detail and contextualisation must be not too great or small in order to take these forwards – the facilitation helps with this.

Crystallizing enacted values. The WeValue ‘trigger statements’ (also known as proto-indicators) are used to facilitate participants to think beyond their usual boundaries and develop measurable values-based indicators with an adequate level of specificity. Different ‘menus’ have been carefully developed for various contexts (and this work is still ongoing). The use of this trigger list may vary depending on the desired outcome and the nature of the organisation.

Organising into a values framework. This step is important for articulating values and developing a local framework of shared values within a specific context. With facilitator guidance, the group can organise the collection of values-based statements into a framework (and note unshared values).

Developing indicators and measures. Specific measurable indicators are developed from values-based statements that are identified as important to evaluate or monitor. Facilitators can help develop rigorous measure method combinations suited for external inquiries, or perhaps less rigorous but quick ones for internal feedback. Groups soon learn to develop their own. Examples of monitoring and evaluation approaches can be found below.

Articulating legacies. This element follows from the first three steps outlined above. Based on an explicit articulation of values, the legacies of a project, collaboration, or body of work, can be articulated and even assessed. This approach usually reveals multiple, and less tangible, legacies.

Strategic planning. The values-based statements identified and placed within a values framework can be used for decision-making and strategic planning. They provide a shared reference to return to when decision-making or new plans appear to change the landscape. Looking at legacies this way can also richly inform strategic planning.