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Mitra: An App Co-created with The Transformative Leadership Program at MIT

In partnership with Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values

Inspiring Ethical Leadership

The Transformative Leadership Program, a course created by the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, helps students develop skills for ethical leadership by tracking and reflecting on their personal values, emotions, and behaviors. The course curriculum is designed to motivate students to align their personal values and professional behaviors, but the analog process, especially outside of the classroom setting, proved to be a manual and cumbersome praxis for the students in the program. The MIT team approached Hopelab to translate the course concepts into a mobile application that could have broader scale and impact.

Track What Matters Most

Mitra helps foster a new generation of leaders who act with integrity and positively impact their workplaces, industries, and communities. Users identify core values, then analyze, measure, and use them as guides for action. A moment of daily reflection helps users identify emotional states that influence actions and how they facilitate or affect one’s ability to lead based on integrity, community, courage, or other values of the users choosing. They are encouraged to observe their values and emotions on a daily basis and evaluate and reflect on their actions. Through that detailed history, they can gain insight to better align values, emotions, and behavior.

Tech Design for Transformative Leadership

In order to translate the Mitra experience to a mobile device-based app, Hopelab crowd-sourced ideas for the user experience. We also conducted human-centered research to identify ways in which young professionals might more easily engage with the app.

Hopelab applied its evidence-based design approach to create the Mitra app. Deep listening through conversations with the center’s team and students helped refine the project’s core objectives and offered key insights into the relationships between users’ values, emotions, and behaviors. We also found that, even though Mitra was originally designed for alumni of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values program it had potential applications for even broader implementation, like adolescents navigating college life and adults in the workplace.

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Mitra mobile application examples.

Fine Tuning Values

We recruited a pool of designers to spark creativity and tap into a range of unique viewpoints. We conducted iterative rounds of user testing to gather data on the designs, testing the visual style, the user interface and user experience. Throughout the whole design synthesis process we were able to gather data which enabled us to fuse together psychology and design insights with the strategic objectives of the Dalai Lama Center to translate their vision into a positive user experience. After narrowing the field to our most promising design, we selected a designer to build the app and refine the mobile experience.

What we learned from translating the Transformative Leadership Course at the into an effective technology-based solution continues to inform our work for the behavioral psychology of teens and young adults, including the development of new technologies and other interventions.

Hopelab helped us move from concept to reality. They brought design, development, and project management resources we don’t have. They also respected the mission and integrity of our project.
Tenzin Priyadarshi, President & CEO at The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT

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