Setting Our Aspirations

September 2020

In August 2019, Stanley Center leadership began the process for constructing a new home in Muscatine, choosing Neumann Monson Architects as our partners in the endeavor. Together, staff formulated a vision for the building in alignment with our values.

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Stanley Center staff adopted ways of working representative of an organization that explores the cutting-edge of our issue areas, celebrates our outside perspective, remains agile and responsive to new opportunities, revisits ways of doing things to regularly question assumptions, and believes that diverse perspectives are necessary to find collective solutions to our greatest global challenges.

These methods include equipping ourselves to work remotely from anywhere in the world, utilizing technology for meaningful collaboration and idea-sharing across continents and time zones, leveraging the power of place for human-centered and equitable reflection on a given context, and identifying the partners, allies, and stakeholders most suited to effecting policy progress while sharing our commitment to inclusivity.

In our current era of transformative change—not only in the ways we work, but also in our people, commitments, internal culture, shared strategy, brand voice, visual identity, and unity—we aspire to create a new home that galvanizes those transformations, facilitates the organic and innovative ways we work, symbolizes what we value, and takes us beyond our individual capabilities.

In August 2019, Stanley Center leadership began the process for constructing a new home in Muscatine, choosing Neumann Monson Architects as our partners in the endeavor. Together, staff formulated a vision for the building, one that offers:

  • The chance to live and share our values. The center’s commitment to mitigating climate change can be affirmed through building design, as can our commitment to fostering global citizenship and building just and equitable communities within society. With the ability to model responsible and sustainable green practices—and share the story of their importance—children, families, and businesses in our community will better understand how solutions begin with individuals and how they can contribute to collective action. Members of the policy and journalism communities we work with will see an affirmation of our commitments and an example set for how equity can be made a priority.
  • Options for the work at hand. Our staff has created an array of options for facilitating dialogue and sparking new ideas in our programming. The offices we will call home will do the same. Quiet solitude, comfortable contemplation, spontaneous moments for collaboration or consultation, and intentional meetings with small groups, large groups, and in-between groups—both in-person and from far away—will always be available to everyone. The space will permit varying degrees of formality depending on the occasion and task at hand.
  • Demonstrated commitment to transparency. Sharing information through open, respectful, and inclusive communication at all levels and maintaining a willingness to hear others’ ideas are expectations for all staff. A space that incorporates literally transparent doors and walls and enables lines-of-sight will promote that commitment.
  • Opportunities for movement. Our staff is one that is constantly on the go in the office, around Muscatine, and around the world and many have chosen to work at the center out of affinity for that active lifestyle. Opportunities for movement, respectful of those whose mobility may be limited, will include adjacency to walking trails; furniture for sitting, standing, and reclining; exercise and entertainment equipment; and bicycle storage.
  • Space for celebrating contributions. Each staff member is integral to the fulfillment of our mission and movement toward our collective vision. Recognizing personal, professional, and team achievements large and small is a common occurrence, and space for that will be available. Common kitchens and dining spaces serve as the heart of most homes and will serve as such for the center.
  • Aesthetics and artwork that represent our values. The center’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and our ability to leverage the power of place will be reflected in our home’s displays and artwork. Modern, simple, and colorful choices for the interior décor will reinforce our visual identity.
  • Expanded capacity for recruitment and retention. A home that is comfortable, modern, and highly contributory to productivity while accommodating personal preferences and needs is critical. Our home will provide amenities, accommodations, and accessibility that communicate and reinforce the value we place on current staff and prospective employees synonymous with our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Community integration. As an organization dedicated to its community and interested in its growth and success, our home will provide opportunities to synergize with local resources such as the public library, school district, art center, and international visitor programs. Community gardens and green technologies such as solar arrays and rainwater capture systems will double as teaching tools for what is possible to those in our hometown and visitors from around the world. Our home’s incorporation of green technologies will create demand and opportunities in our community and local economy in line with our values, instead of adding to demand for energy and other consumables that stand in contrast to them.
  • Symbolism and legacy. Our history is one we are proud of and it offers a remarkable story to help engage all of our audiences. Leveraging the symbolism of our location and its connection to the lives of Max and Betty Stanley add significant meaning to our home and will be part of site selection. We acknowledge we must go deeper, and understand the location’s connectedness to Indigenous communities and the Earth.

Armed with this vision and set of aspirations, the center began the journey to develop a home that makes us ever-more effective in creating a better world for all people.