Ethical Contract

Difficulty Level:

Design Phase:

Method Overview

Designing is never a solitary act. Therefore it is important that everyone is on the same page. This technique guides you in a value negotiation with all stakeholders involved in order to find common ethical ground.

Framework of ethics used



Method Intentions:

Get Started

Participants: Design Team, Stakeholders

Materials Needed: Ethical Themes, An Ethical Disclaimer, Responsibilities


  1. Explain your disclaimer to all involved stakeholders.
  2. Go through the unethical situations and collect important ethical themes. Collectively define these themes for this project.
  3. Discuss who is responsible for each situation. Write everyone’s responsibilities down.
  4. Formulate three main ethical objectives everyone agrees on. Make sure everyone knows what they mean.
  5. Write down (an updated version of) the design goal as agreed upon by all stakeholders.
  6. Place your signatures to commit to the design goal and ethical objectives.

Further Reading

Jet Gispen. 2017. Ethical Contract.