We launched The Indigo Podcast in November 2019, and since then, we’ve built a wonderful audience of curious people who tune in to hear our long-form treatment of a topic that’s relevant to the idea of flourishing at work and beyond. Some of our episodes feature guests; some are us talking about a topic. Regardless, we share insights and observations that we think are valuable for everyone.
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Why “indigo” and what we’re trying to do
We articulate a big part of what we’re trying to do in The Indigo Manifesto.
The Indigo Manifesto
We believe that the world is better when people flourish at work.
Today, work and work-related activities comprise a major share of the hours we’re awake. This wasn’t always the case. In fact, organizations as we know them today by and large did not exist until the Industrial Revolution, which occurred generally in the latter half of the 1700s through the first half of the 1800s. Even then, it took another half-century or so before people began to shift en masse from agricultural, family-centered existence to employment as we know it today.
Prior to this shift, the primary large organizations with which people interacted included only governments (and their military forces) along with various organized religions and some educational institutions.
Now, we live our lives in many ways through and as members of organizations. Many of us are born in healthcare organizations. Shortly after birth—at least in the United States—we enter various government organizations that register us, issue us birth certificates, and issue us Social Security numbers. It’s likely that we then often experience various forms of childcare organizations, followed by pre-schools, schools, and work organizations. Along the way, we’re likely to spend some time in various other organizations—be they civic, sports-related, religious, or social in nature. Of course, we also engage in and with numerous organizations on a daily basis through our work, commerce, and play.
All of these organizational encounters and experiences shape us. They give us identity, an answer to the question, “What do you do?” They put us in contact with numerous other people, who influence us and who in turn we influence.
Because of these realities, these taken-for-granted features of modern existence, if we want to make the world a better place, a great place to focus upon is the workplace.
Focusing upon work and the people that conduct that work is our passion, and by improving the conversation and path forward regarding the future of work and organizations, we hope to have a positive influence on people everywhere.
We believe that human flourishing is a complex, multi-level interaction.
That brings us to the idea of flourishing. What do we mean by human flourishing?
We understand human flourishing through both what it is and what it is not. Flourishing is akin to thriving; it includes the full spectrum of wellness. It includes growth, resilience, and living a life in an optimal range of one’s potential. Flourishing is not simply human survival.
At an individual level, human flourishing has psychological foundations and components, along with associated notions of how we see the world and our place within it.
The vast majority of modern existence puts us in contact with others. These interactions raise the question, “How should we act in the world?” The answer to this question involves an examination of morality and what compass might guide us as we move forward.
Modernity is the story of emergent human thriving. Despite the many, substantial problems and suffering that certainly exists, quality of life has indeed improved dramatically during the past two centuries. And yet, technological advancements pose new challenges regarding the world of both work and daily life—along with the intended and unintended consequences of those advancements.
Given that life is organizational in nature, the concept of human flourishing necessitates an exploration of the relationship between people at work as individuals and the organizations in which they are members. It also involves the complex interactions that we have with each other on a daily basis and how we navigate social norms.
At some level, we want people to admire us, to like us, to want to be around us; and we want that admiration or connection to be deserved. We want to be worthy of it. But what does that look like and how do we achieve it in modern society and in the modern world of work?
Beyond the individual and team or organizational level, human flourishing involves additional questions about our communities, the social fabric that brings us together or creates fault lines between groups, and the broader context of all organizations. These broader collectives must also ask themselves, “How should we act in the world?”
With regard to human flourishing, the connections among employees, organizations, their various stakeholders, and their specific environments matter greatly. Sub-optimal flourishing is a loss of life that has nothing to do with death but a loss of the life best-lived. This is the stuff that makes the world better. This flourishing must be enabled by both the exploration of these larger themes and sets of actionable practices.
Human flourishing is necessarily a complex topic; yet it is one of utmost importance—with implications for society, organizations, teams, leaders, and daily life.
We believe that opportunities to improve human flourishing abound.
Our experience in organizations—both as members of them and as consultants working to improve them—suggests that human flourishing is not particularly common. That means there is much opportunity for improvement.
We want to explore these opportunities by examining the relevant social science and finding evidence-based practices that will help. Our approach is inherently interdisciplinary, with insights coming from the fields of industrial/organizational psychology, management, sociology, communication studies, political science, philosophy, and more.
It is within this space that we dedicate our efforts—as curious people, academics, consultants, and practitioners—and swing for the fences to make the world better.
We invite you to tune into The Indigo Podcast and join us in our journey toward trying to make the world a better place.