Module 9 — Leadership, Ethics and Outcomes & Module 10: Course Summary – Conclusions & Recommendations

A recap of the final fifth week modules for ICS 698 Problems in Information Systems Capstone Seminar (3 credits)
“Advanced Research & Development Management Seminar” as taught by Dr. Jay E. Gillette, Ph.D. at the Center for Information & Communication Sciences, Ball State University, Summer Term I 2016.  

Objectives for Module 9:  Leadership, Ethics & Outcomes

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  1. Identify key elements of Professional Ethics for R&D Management and Technology Leadership contained in the following handouts: CICS Values as Ethics, Oath of Hippocrates, The Hippocratic Oath Today Meaningless Relic or Invaluable Guide, UXPA Code of Ethics and the Johnson & Johnson Credo
  2. Formulate an opinion and discuss the importance of reaching the right outcomes and if the ends justify the means


This weekend while fishing with friends and their families up at Boyds Mason Lake, Wisconsin, I had a chance to eat three meals a day with retired and professional engineers who specialized in R&D management and technology innovation leadership.

 Fishing in Wisconsin

They worked for companies as diverse as a nation-wide pesticide manufacturer based in Fort Wayne and one of Accenture’s former leading Technologists (he now runs a school in Tanzania at the base of Mt. Kilamanjaro).


This was a great chance to apply the principles and techniques I have garnered over the course of this outstanding capstone course, and to gauge their knowledge and expertise.  One thing all of them happened to stress was the importance of ethics.  Every action we do will be either condoned or criticized.  It is very important that you can defend your decision, not just from an objective position, but a subjective-moral perspective.  That is the best lesson I have gained not just from this course but also from my time with CICS.

Ethic Head Word cloud

Technology and Business is a lot like a gun.  It can be used for good or bad—responsibility always lay in the hands of the Human.  Ths is a topic that was spoken about at great length by the founder of the world’s most innovative company (Google, now Alphabet), Eric Schmidt in his book The New Digital Age. (A book we were required to read for CICS no less.) What are we if not for our values, our integrity?  They are systems that define us, guide us, and constrain us.

4 Values Displayed by an R&D Technology Leader
  1. Integrity
  2. The Golden Rule
  3. Passion to make a difference
  4. Appreciation

 Ironic Golden Rule Fortune Cookie

(wrong golden rule…)

CICS Core Values redux
  • Creativity
  • Integrity
  • Communication
  • Service


CICS Motto:  Producing problem-solving professionals.


User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA)

UXPA Code of Ethics
  • Act in the best interest of everyone
  • Be honest with everyone
  • Do not harm and if possible provide benefits
  • Act with integrity
  • Avoid conflicts of interest
  • Respect privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity
  • Provide all resultant data

The Hippocratic Oath

“Above all do no harm”

– sacred ancient oath of Physicians.  Modern version:

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:
I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help

Even watered-down, the classical values remain

Importance of professional conferences:
  • Support and promotion of your company
  • Continuing Education and training in relevant or exciting industry fields
  • Professional and Personal Networking
  • Be ahead of the innovation/adoption bell curve with insight into the latest industry innovations



“Information is Knowledge in Motion”

“Life-Long Learning”

“Learning through negotiation”

“Failure is okay, so long as you learn from it”



Hyperbole – rhetorical exaggeration

Theory – systemic thinking

Data – originally plural


Objectives for Module 10:  Course Summary – Conclusions & Recommendations

At the end of this module students will be able to:

  1. Discuss personal viewpoints on the topic of Science as Ethics
  2. Provide a personal interpretation of the meaning of The Dragon Gate Koan

The Dragon’s Gate:

Students are the Dragons (and the carp)

We don’t know that we are changing until you have truly crossed the other side.   IE: you will know it when you see it.  This course has bestowed upon us a skillset (the principles and qualities of R&D Management) that will prove useful over the course of our lives.

Return back to the Gillette-ism “Life-long learning”.  We never stop learning; working, striving, looking and you cannot stop any of those things if you ever wish to pass through the gate.  The gate is a success-ful, satisfy-ing life.


The Dragon’s Gate is actually a Chinese proverb that refers to the process and rewards of passing the Imperial Examinations (gaoko) or receiving a sudden, but well-earned promotion.  In Imperial China, the bureaucracy & nobility were predicated on meritocratic ideals.  Thus to pass the gaoko was akin to joining the royal elite for generations to come.  There is a legend that the carps swimming in the Yellow River will transform into dragons once they jump over the “Dragon’s Gate”, a grand waterfall (Yumenkou) at the valley on the Shanxi frontier.  As a ritual of good luck, families would cook carp dishes for students preparing to take the gaoko.  Even though no one in China can become a Mandarin anymore, final examinations and capitalist promotion are still very important (the cultural value of education) so the phrase “to pass the Dragon’s Gate” remains en vogue.

Carp passing the Dragon's Gate, turns into a Dragon


Abbreviations and Acronyms

= Bane of Technical Writing

BUT REALLY, REALLY COMMON.  THANKS CISCO.  Roll-over Hyperlinks could be used to help a reader instantly refresh his knowledge of what an acronym stands for rather than having to go back and find it, distracting oneself from the lesson or thread at hand.


 – Go beyond oneself.

Merriam-Webster Definition:

of, relating to, or being in a state of existence independent of an individual mind or mode of thinking though not necessarily independent of the modes of thought common to all men:  objective in universal rather than individual experience <concepts are necessarily transsubjective, for they are of universal validity — Alfred Stern>

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