Our Values

Because how we work is as important as what we do.

By Mikey Dickerson, Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service

We have talked about the values of USDS since before USDS existed. We knew vaguely what we were about from the beginning, and those early declarations have now been refined and battle tested by hundreds of us in the process of making thousands of difficult decisions about what work we take on, and how we do it.

I have learned a simple and precise acid test for an organizational “value.” It is this:

If a statement can be invoked by anyone in an organization, and cause a decision to be re-evaluated or changed, without regard to anyone’s rank or title, then you have a bona fide value. If it doesn’t work that way, then it’s not a value.

I’ve encouraged the U.S. Digital Service to use and acid-test the below list, with each other, and with me, because I do hope they are a real reflection of who we are.

1. Hire and empower great people.

Technology alone doesn’t change things — it’s the people who push our mission forward. Strong EQ, compassion, and tenacity are just as important as being a great technologist.

2. Find the truth. Tell the truth.

We expect our people to be humble, not quiet, and challenge the status quo wherever data supports it. As has been said before, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

3. Optimize for results, not optics.

We work for the people — not credit, prestige, or headlines. This means tackling the hard stuff, even when success isn’t guaranteed.

4. Go where the work is.

By working shoulder to shoulder with agencies, we’re able to inspire change. Transforming government is not up to the Digital Service. It’s up to all of us, together.

5. Create momentum.

The American people need better digital services, today. We work with a bias for action, focusing on delivery above all else.

6. Design with users, not for them.

To deliver products and services that provide value to users, it’s essential that we experience their experiences. The best products and services aren’t created behind closed doors.

These posters hang in the U.S. Digital Service HQ.