| In September of last year, the ASTRON DESP (Digital and Embedded Signal Processing) group started an expedition. We went on a journey towards quality, transparency and enhanced employee engagement. The point of departure was that we are no longer content to wait for what is coming at us, but wish to step forward with a clear mission and vision.
Since such principles have to be carried by each member of the group, they cannot simply be imposed top-down. Therefore we organized a "day on the heath" at an external retreat, to establish the ingredients for the group mission. It was an intensive day, with a lot of discussions and laughter. We talked about who our customers are, what needs we endeavour to satisfy, and what technology to use for that lofty purpose. But also how to distinguish ourselves, and which values and beliefs are essential in our work. Basically, the questions are "who gives us existence?" "why are we here?" and "what business are we in?". Every member of the group had a say, and continues to do so.
We did a lot of exercises. First we held a mirror up to ourselves personally, and then to the group as a whole. This process has led, in early 2015, to the DESP Mission reproduced below. As a by-product, we also formulated some Statutes, which outline the ways in which we strive to work within the DESP group.
The DESP Mission
Unveiling the mysteries of the universe through the use of advanced digital systems.
The Digital and Embedded Signal Processing group delivers digital systems to radio astronomers for retrieving astronomical information from data. With these systems we provide the optimal balance between quality and time to science.
Involvement and focus on customers are key values for us. We communicate with each other and our customers in an open way. We are a team.
The picture was taken by Bastiaan Spijk of HRM, who contributed significantly to the process. It shows all the members of the DESP group, clutching the Mission and the Statutes. We have already started to live by them.