Mon 22 Mar 2021 9:50PM

Mission Vision Values

D Danny Public Seen by 24

First Draft

A group of BwoB community members (Tina, Ibrahim, Vik and myself) drafted a Mission Vision Values document as part of our efforts to formalize the structure of Biotech Without Borders in anticipation of our reopening. I am opening this thread to complete the process of finalizing this document.

What Sorts of Questions/Comments Am I Soliciting?

This document is an extension of our mission outlined in our articles of incorporation. I am interested learning what people take away from the document and places where the language might not be clear. Please open a comment and leave your thoughts! Ideally this document will be a philosophical stepping stone to developing the other documents that govern our organization.

v0.1 to v0.2: Continuing to Collect Comments and Looking for Outside Opinions

We have had a month in Questions and Comments on the v0.1 Google doc which was very helpful in stimulating an open discussion. Thank-you to all who participated (Chirag, Frank, Yuriy and Julia). However, the intention was to follow the Consent Process and I realized that the round format is important to maximize the diversity of Comments and Questions received. Hopefully Loomio will help with facilitating that. So I am opening it up to comments and questions first to those who have not previously commented.

v0.2 can be found here

The Mission Vision and Values were approved in the outcome from the singular proposal in this thread.

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Neha Sun 28 Mar 2021 11:12PM

In general, awesome job getting these ideas down! I'm writing my own vision/mission/values and it is a tough process :) Here are some comments you can take or leave as you see fit!

  • Vision: I'm unclear if "Do-It-Together" is a specifically defined process? Or is it something that BwoB is defining? I hesitate on including a potentially jargony term into a vision statement. If I'm mistaken, and its not jargon - you may want to consider not capitalizing the phrase. Also, consider saying "are organized to do it together using the safe hands-on practice of science" as opposed to "educated in" - in the outreach/community engagement literature, the phrase "educating people" can have a top-down hierarchical connotation.

  • Mission: Consider using minoritized as opposed to underrepresented? Ultimately, depends on your audience but I know minoritized is a bit more evocative, and descriptive of the process of making the. world majorities a minority in the U.S. Consider replacing citizen scientist with community scientist? Again, depends on your audience :) (https://debspark.audubon.org/news/why-were-changing-citizen-science-community-science).

  • Values: When you can, consider phrasing the values as "we commit to" to communicate that these are actively being agreed upon in every interaction in the organization (re: accountability), as opposed to something that exists already. Its a small semantics comment, but I've felt it to be meaningful in some spaces.


Danny Mon 29 Mar 2021 1:06AM

Thanks for your input Neha. These insights are very helpful!


Sarah Mon 29 Mar 2021 4:38PM

This is very strong start! The biggest issue that I see here is that the Vision and Mission statements are too similar. Your Vision should be about the future of the organization and its ultimate goals, while the Mission is a concise statement of who you are and what you're doing. These will need more work, but my initial suggestions of how to revise these statements follow.

  • Vision: "All those seeking to improve society through biotechnology are organized to Do-It-Together as a means to develop and improve their skills, and empowered to apply their understanding of the safe hands-on practice of science at the lab bench and at home."

  • Mission: I always think that your mission should restate your organization's name, because this should be a stand-alone statement of who you are. From there, while I think it still needs work, this is closer to your actual mission: "Biotech Without Borders is a self-sustaining community of citizen-scientists committed to increasing the accessibility of scientific resources and knowledge, especially among those historically underrepresented within the scientific community."

As for the Values, there are some very minor grammar and syntax changes that I'd make, but overall, I think that these are all very well articulated.


Vikram Krishnamoorthy Sat 3 Apr 2021 2:17PM

Comments: I think Do-It-together might be a bit jargon-y, and we do often have people working as individuals in the lab on their own projects, I don't think saying DIT precludes individuals, but it might feel like we're making lots of exceptions, and if that's something we have to keep explaining/making "exceptions" for it might weaken things overall.

I like the values section, but the description on each value seems long. I think it works though. One point is that Diversity and Inclusivity is the only one of the values that doesn't have an action associated with it. The others say we create, evaluate, ask, offer, discuss. Maybe we should say instead of the more perspectives we engage - say we engage perspectives?

Overall, I like how these are coming out. I noticed a thread on donors in the doc - my two cents are that if we pursue donors, they need to know what they are donating for, and a M/V/V document lays out what the vision they're buying into is, before looking into specific accomplishments and action items as reasons to donate.


Danny Sun 4 Apr 2021 11:38PM

@Ibrahim Dulijan this is Neha's comment for context for Vik's discussion on DIT.

Vision: I'm unclear if "Do-It-Together" is a specifically defined process? Or is it something that BwoB is defining? I hesitate on including a potentially jargony term into a vision statement. If I'm mistaken, and its not jargon - you may want to consider not capitalizing the phrase.

What sort of difference in meaning might come from making Do-It-Together a lowercase term? I think if it distances us from a jargon-y term then we should do it. Any other thoughts you might have would be helpful to.


Ibrahim Dulijan Sat 10 Apr 2021 3:53AM

The maker movement using Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tools to develop low-cost products became a Do-It-Together (DIT) movement creating an inclusive community science approach where multiple stakeholders were collaborating to address a local problem. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2020.102628


Deleted account Sun 18 Apr 2021 9:05PM


Great points. New to the DIT lingo but love it. Do it biological = DIT. Cell to tissue to organ; the dance of genesis.


Poll Created Thu 15 Apr 2021 5:08AM

Approve the Mission Vision Values Closed Sat 24 Apr 2021 11:04PM

by Danny Wed 28 Apr 2021 8:49PM

We got a bunch of consents which is great. It's clear that some are also confused about what a valid Objection is (Vik explicitly stated this in his response, thank-you for raising this concern). I don't expect people to grasp this concept right away (I do not claim to have perfect knowledge of these principles and the effects they have on a group either) and I appreciate any constructive comments that people leave, but outside of the process they can be difficult to take action on.

All things said and done. This is our first Consent Process action completed! Now we have a version 1 of the Mission Vision Values statement and I look forward to using it as an important document from which we can make future explicit objections. (Please find it linked in the Loomio group description)

The board of directors will accept this document as one of it's first actions once we finalize some other organizational documents. However for the purposes of interacting with the community this should help direct the types of initiatives BwoB is positioned to pursue.

I will leave this thread open because if in the future we want to revisit this document, discussion around those revisions can be had here. If someone wants to propose the new version we can follow the Consent Process once again, however it will likely not be a priority until we have more of the organization running. A key part of allowing community/members to impact the organization's documents will be formalized in an amendment to the bylaws.

I amended the document using the input I gathered from the comments and questions (Thank you for all your participation in all it's forms). The new version is attached. This part of the process is the part where you can object to the document and drive specific revisions. Please see this graphic as to what constitutes a valid objection. In short it should be: explicit, impersonal, evidenced and not "safe to fail". More details on the help page describing the Integration/Objections phase of the Consent Process.

I recognize there is some tautology at play here because this is the document for which future proposals will be asked to be explicit about. This time am leaning on everybody's ideas of what BwB could be as a source to initially anchor this high level articulation of purpose to a snapshot of who we are today.

The other criteria for a valid objection are also useful.

If you have more explicit suggestions for changes you can put them here in the google doc version.


Results Option % of points Voters
Consent 100.0% 5 D VK ID E DU
Abstain 0.0% 0  
Objection 0.0% 0  
Undecided 0% 7 YF TL N HI J EJ BM

5 of 12 people have participated (41%)


Thu 15 Apr 2021 5:08AM

I'm proposing it I believe in it.

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