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Nick Franchini

A fresh eye on ethics

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Visual tools to explore ethical issues in a practical way. Particularly when ethical issues are awkward and perhaps there is an 'elephant in the room'. These tools can help facilitators and participants 'speak up' while maintaining neutrality, and 'add value' and 'make a difference'.

Rather than looking at ethics as something academic, we use a model made up of three perspectives that people actually use in real life to make day to day choices.

Firstly, there is our personal perspective or self-interest. Secondly, there is the intermediate focal point which is shaped by the values of the communities we belong to (e.g. employer, professional body, trade/industry, neighbourhood, church or club). Thirdly, there is the focal point that is the most abstract, which is that set of universal ideals that everyone can relate to.

This method presents ethics in a neutral and universal way. None of the three perspectives is innately right or wrong. Perhaps one way or another, the universal ideals can get twisted or skewed by our personal and community perspectives. This is open to debate as are all the possible interactions between these three perspectives.

This model is particularly thought provoking because needs and aspirations are presented as an integral part of ethics rather than as an alternative perspective. Conversely, this integration may make it easier for people to 'unpack' their ethical baggage in ways that may not have been hitherto possible.

To help us explore this model and explore how these different perspectives interact, this method includes four different graphical visualisations. This enables participlants to see the model in the round and from different angles. (see attached file)