Interstellar Business Show​

With Andrew Bull

Podcast for Technology CEOs and their teams.

It's time to grow your mind, elevate performance, and own your future 🚀

Interstellar Business Show​

Podcast for Tech CEOs who want to grow their minds, elevate performance, and own their future.

Conversational AI: Garreth Chandler on gathering insights from team and customers

Featuring....

Garreth Chandler of The Evolved Group podcast interview
Special Guest
Garreth Chandler, Founder & CEO of The Evolved Group

Episode Introduction

AI annual growth rate between 2020 and 2027 is forecast at 33.2%. AI is shaking things up in every industry. How can your business leverage this change? By streamlining the insights you gain from both your customers and you team… In this episode, I’m joined by Garreth Chandler, Founder & CEO of The Evolved Group.
Garreth’s business specialises in conversational AI. This is a technology and approach to insight gathering that CEO’s with 50+ team members must know about.

Episode notes & resources

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Listen to more episodes here: Interstellar.Show

More about Garreth Chandler and The Evolved Group…

The Evolved Group is a Human Insights company. “We believe that meaningful human engagement is the engine of organisational growth and success. We achieve this with our award-winning Evolved Human Listening™ Conversational AI technology.”

The Evolved Group website: https://www.theevolvedgroup.com/

Garreth’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garreth-chandler-5821172/

The Evolved Group LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/theevolvedgroup

Transcript

Please note, this transcription is autogenerated, so there may be errors.

Welcome to the interstellar business show. My name is Andrew Bull. I’ll be your host and guide on this journey of growing, working and living smarter. This show is especially for CEOs and future CEOs who are working in tech driven industries. Today I’m going to be talking with Garreth Chandler, who is the CEO of the evolved group. Now the evolved group is helping businesses find greater and better insights from their customers and also from their workforces and use them to create powerful changes within their businesses. And I’m going to be talking to gaffe about what that actually means and why you should care about it.

I’ll also be talking to Gareth about the workplace culture of his business and how they’re trying to help their team maintain work life balance, but do it in a realistic, sustainable way. We’ll also be talking about the need to balance humans and technology within your business. How much should you be looking to replace with a I? Where should you be looking to unlock more of the human potential within your team? Lastly, we’ll be talking about Garrett’s vision for the future and where he thinks the evolved group will be heading.

I’m very pleased today to be joined by Gareth Chandler, who is the CEO of the Evolved group, which is a company based in Australia. But that actually serves the world. Welcome to the show, Gareth. Thank you, Andrew. Enough to be talking with you. Yeah, it’s great to have you here with us today, So this first segment is called Growing smarter. It’s all about helping CIOs, either ones who are currently CEOs or ones who will be 11 day grow smarter, whether it’s helping them grow smarter with their business or grow smarter with their minds.

I don’t know. You’re a B two B company that actually helps companies grow in a smarter way. So I’m really interested to dig in and find out. What does the evolved group actually do? What do you specialise in helping companies with? Well, if you ask you that question a few years ago, I would have said we’re a research company. But these days we prefer to call ourselves a human insights company. And that means Andrew that were a combination of a research consultancy, but also technology company. So we have our own platform and that platform helps organisations identify opportunities, optimise experiences by continually listening to their customers and markets to be able to, uh, find insights that they can use to their commercial advantage.

Okay, cool. So it’s about extracting the data and the insights that are already there. Definitely. I guess it depends on how you define their but defined there is in the minds of customers and markets. And our job is really to get those insights out in a way that companies can actually take the insight in terms of commercial benefits. So finding new customers, developing a new product, using it to improve something they’re already doing. But we do that at scale and basically have our customers generate insights that they can apply to basically making more money and being commercially successful.

So one of the ways that I saw on your website that seems to be one of the key methods that you use for grabbing hold of these key insights and helping your customers is conversational ai. So what is that good question? It’s a new type of technology that that’s really becoming more and more important than something that we’ve been working on for a number of years that either replaces or augments traditional survey with natural language conversations, much like we’re having now. And if you kind of think about when you do a survey yourself and you’re getting all of these questions in front of you, you might say, How do you rate this or How do you write that?

His You know, 10 statements tell us how strongly you agree or disagree about those. That’s really an imposition of someone else’s expectations about what’s important to you in a way that’s not very engaging and often doesn’t really get to the heart of what you really want to understand. A person thinks about so conversational. AI uses new technologies like a chat bot, but it’s kind of upside down to ask questions on you where you can reply in your own language, using your own thoughts, using your own technologies, but actually really unpack.

Why do you think what you do and then uses some fairly advanced text analytics to take? All those conversations were typically are clearer, with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, and distil them into insights that again the company can use to say, Well, we didn’t know that or this is a new opportunity for us, or we didn’t know that this product is not quite delivering in the way they want and automating that process. That’s basically what you might call qualitative researches scale. I find that really interesting because I’ve been looking into a I copyrighting, for example, at the moment.

And a I is a big, big thing going at the moment. And I like the fact people can respond in their own ways. Would you then collapse all that unique and bespoke language that people use into? Ah, you know, the fact that 30% of the workforce feel like they’re working too many hours like you get those kind of insights from these conversations? Exactly. Yes. So traditionally, what you’d be doing, you’d say, Do you think you’re working too many hours at work? How strongly would you agree or disagree?

And if you think about most of the employee surveys is sort of one area that we apply the technology, uh, typically got 50 60 even 100 different statements like that, you sort of clicking the mouse all the time and, you know, eventually you kind of get sick of it and you might started cooking five on everything. But what our technology allows us to do is to say, Andrew, how are you going to work this this week? And you can say, Look, I’m going great, but I feel like I’m I’m pulling too many hours ago. Okay?

Can you tell me more about that? You know, there’s some complex rules in there and some sophisticated AI that helps us understand what you’re talking about. It allows us to ask sensible questions to respond with. One question with a better question will really dig into things. And then what we do is we say OK, well, maybe 12% of people have mentioned working too hard, so we can put a solid number on that. But then we can always take it back to the conversations and look at things like emotionality.

What is the drivers of people feel like they’re working too hard, what’s working too hard and what the impacts. Once you start looking at things like leave, so it’s quite a nuanced and sophisticated system, but really at the heart of it is our responsibility is to use their own language to say things in in terms of really means something to them rather than someone writing a questionnaire. That’s fantastic. I love I just love how much more human, the processes, and actually, we’ll get on to that later in the interview.

So why should CEOs really care about conversational AI? Because it sounds great. Technology sounds great, and it’s great to, of course, we want to care more about people. But if I’m looking at my bottom line and worried about balancing out all the things I need to balance out right now, I mean in the U. K. For example, we’ve got gas prices going through the roof right now, so there’s a lot of things for people to worry about. Why why should they? They allocate some worry and focus and energy towards conversational ai.

We believe that every type of product or service, every type of experience that any organisation delivers. In fact, you could say that internally, externally always comes down to human experiences. It’s always about how people experiences, whether that’s your selling shoes or in your example energy prices. What the implications for that in terms of the decisions we’re making about how you’re spending your household budget. Um, and ultimately, this technology allows a CEO to feel like they’ve got their finger on the pulse. They’re actually seeing things like that coming up, and they’re able to react to those types of issues more quickly than their competitor.

And I use that as an example. So you can imagine that tropical questionnaire. Let’s say it’s a questionnaire to help understand how companies or how households feel about an energy provider. You might not be worried about the cost of living, but all of a sudden, you during covid, we’ve got supply side inflation because the conversation is adaptive. Those sorts of trends come through, and companies using our technology can start to say, Oh, we’ve got a trend coming up. People are starting to worry about energy prices, where you’d be lucky to get that at all.

Previously, with a static survey now, not only can you start to see a trending and all of these conversations that people are having, you can actually see it far earlier than anybody else. We had examples recently. In fact, we had one client during Covid. There was using the technology to monitor workplace engagement, and when the when the pandemic broke out, they were immediately able to see what the implications were about people working from home about not obvious things, like people need more support. They needed better equipment that they didn’t have the right audiovisual equipment to be able to participate effectively in conference school.

So it’s that type of dynamic insight that the technology can deliver. As we all know, time is money and speed of response is everything in modern business that it delivers that in spades. Awesome. Yeah, I love I love the fact that you can actually respond to those emerging market trends and and and take action with them, which I think, especially with what’s happening with the workforce now. And I think we’re going through like, a revolution in many ways, in terms of how people are working and some of it, some of it, I feel, well, we’ll come back like I don’t think everyone’s gonna end up working remotely long term.

But I think there will definitely be a shift in the market of a certain amount of people working from home and a certain amount doing mix. So, yeah, there’s these big trends right now. that companies, if they want to, I suppose, retain and and attract the best talent they need to understand what people want. And I guess that’s one way that you, you guys at the evolved group can help people. Definitely. Okay, so does this. Is this kind of totally replace traditional work work? Work force surveys, then is that Is this the death of the online form?

It can do Andrew, but there’s probably two ways to answer that. Question. One is because we’re having a conversation. We actually call it a workplace companion. So we typically created an avatar that’s representative of the employee brand, and people can track to it. Maybe once a month. We got some points of track once away, other clients at every quarter. Um, the idea there is that, um, typical traditional workplace surveys annually, so this can augment a seven day you might be doing once a year. Report to the board, get the numbers together, see how you’re tracking between those annual pulses.

This is actually engaging with people in meaningful conversations and learning about what motivates them. It works. They can actually augment that within the actual conversations themselves, rather than again asking a big, long questionnaire with lots of agree or disagree. Statement. We’ve just simply say to people how things going or how are you feeling this at the moment? And they might rate that sort of score out of 10. Or we’ve got little smiley budget that they can move to actually show a face going happy or sad. And then the conversation begins.

So to that extent, it really has completely replaced traditional survey. But there’s still room to move in a workplace environment to get a structured, uh, assessment of how people are feeling, according to some validated model. And we do still do a bit of that as well. And I’m interested in what you you you say about these conversations with team members and about how they might be structured or work. Does the conversation evolve depending then, upon what someone says? Like if someone selling their feeling like, quite overwhelmed with work and then they can’t struggling to meet their deadlines, uh, will?

Will the conversation move them towards a path of getting some support? Or is it just is it just passive and like it takes the data and moves on? There’s a lot of information in language and one of the things that you can do with languages to assist people stress level. And you can use trigger words to determine if someone is actually at risk or if they’re in an emotional state, which which indicates that they need support. When we first started experimenting with the technology, we saw very quickly that people actually were very forthcoming in terms of talking to attract, but in fact far more so than they would with another human.

Because the tablet doesn’t judge and it’s not sitting there looking at them and saying, You know, pull your socks up Why are you complaining about that? People can say whatever they want. So we build in a system called danger words. And what that actually does is look at things like stress levels and key terms, such as fully harassed in this one domain. Or people are feeling stressed or uncertain. They’re feeling overwhelmed, and that will then trigger an alert, which typically that goes, uh, a little thing on the screen, saying it sounds like you might need some help.

Here’s a number of court which can go to an enterprise assistance programme provider where I can go to the HR provider or even external provider with something that might provide support for people from for example, Lifeline will be on Blewett companies in Australia that can provide those types of services. So we were very passionate about putting that in the product early on. When you look at the stats over the last 18 months or so, there’s been a huge number of those people that have actually triggered that type of alert that I’m glad to say We’ve been able to provide an offer assistance to That’s fair.

Well, thanks for doing that. That’s awesome that you guys are actually helping the person and not just providing not just taking the data from them. But you’re actually providing the most solution or steps towards a solution. Awesome. Which kind of brings us into out the next segment of the show, which is called Working Smarter. So working smarter in this segment, we’re looking at how we can help CIOs elevate the performance of their team, their own leadership and the business in general. I suppose. What I think this is a good linking places because we’re talking about that cross over between technology and humans and how and how the things are blending more.

You know, like you say now I might be having my support feedback conversations with some AI Uh, whereas in the past it might have been with weekly call catch up call with someone or a coaching session or just talked to the leader on my team. What should we definitely be keeping human in the workplace when you think about your business at the evolved group? What? What? What you definitely want to make sure doesn’t become like an AI or computerised process in terms of the business, um, humans.

I mean, I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple of years understanding, you know, the whole what it means to be human and what what makes the difference between a human human and something that’s purporting or attempting to sort of replicate or simulate a human. And I think what it all comes down to me is creativity and an ability for someone to be, um, exercise judgement and discretion, uh, that humans are fantastic at tasks where, um, you know, there’s a little of creativity that it’s gonna it’s gonna allow you to make something better, to be able to understand the context, too subtle region ambiguity that we all face and work every day.

Someone doing something that is mundane, repetitive, um, dehumanising. Then that’s time that that could be better spent in a job that they’re more free to do, which is unlocking more of those positive human characteristics. So once again, we’re not trying to replace humans. Do this technology. We’re really trying to automate things and optimise how people spend their times and in fact, unlocked the great traits of being humans that I doubt machines will never replace you can treat. You can teach machines to start to feed every Willie Nelson song to start producing Willie Nelson song, but it’s still Willie Nelson that is replicated, and I think humans are always going to be absolutely fundamentally important to everything about how organisations operate.

We’re not trying to change that. Okay, so how in terms of how you’re managing this automation trend as a business, how you like? What’s your strategy, then, for how you like, say, a new piece of technology comes along and, for example, we’ve got a I copyrighting now, so In some ways, blog posts can be written by a I kind of, um how how do you manage that Within the business. If, say, someone on your team was a copywriter on all of a sudden, you’ve got at all that can reduce their working week by half, or maybe even down to one day, right.

They could get all their work done in one day. How? What would your approach to be like that with your business? I think that’s actually a really interesting example, Andrew, that you’re providing there because I’ve had a good look at those those tools are laid to do that they’re based on, uh, technology is called transformers and what that basically means they’re grabbing all of the Internet. Text on the text has been put online, and they’re synthesising it and telling you, um, giving away that they can communicate that.

But underneath all of that is still someone, somewhere has written that text, and you can imagine that I’m like, OK, well, I can’t afford a copywriter, and I’m just going to use a transformer based technology to start generating copy. All I’m really doing is doing what my competitors doing and we’re all heading in a race for modernisation now. I don’t think that leads anywhere good. I would suggest that in the future. Sure, that can save you dollars. But it’s a false economy and the innovation, the creativity, the success of organisation to go beyond the boundaries of where they operated is always going to be humans.

Sure, there might be simple tasks like I want to look up there and get a good line or something, and I scan 50 pages of what other people have done, or it might come up with a machine generated line. But at the end of the day, that’s that’s a bit like fast food versus, you know, fine dining. I don’t think it sort of gets to the apple, uh, apex of what organisations really want to achieve in terms of excellence. Okay, that’s cool. So for years, so in a way, there’s always need to be that human element to a lot of these creative and innovation focused task.

Is that Is that kind of what we’re leading to here? Go? Yeah, I think so. But in the sense that I’m sure there’s a lot of mundane copyrighting to continue the analogy that can be done by machine. But that mundane copyrighting isn’t going to take an organisation to be the leader in its field through communicating with other humans at scale, using Chris concise, effective language. So I think there’s a place for both. But I never see a world in which humans are not fundamentally the ones that sort of finding that next great, you know, sentence or developing a messaging that’s really going to connect with people.

At least I have not. Okay, that’s yeah, no, no, I got I agree with you and I think that that’s kind of how I see it, as well as those of the modernisation that eventually all just the the blog post and everything will just all be the same if they’re all generated by AI. And in fact, if you think about the feedback loop, it’ll just become worse and worse. If the whole into their sort of this stuff and it’s feeding its feeding it back into itself, the whole thing will just become drivel eventually.

So, yeah, I think it’s already happening, but you can see something when you start to use those tools online and I think again there’s a time and place for everything. But I think there’s a level of naivety and expecting that the technology, particularly anytime soon, is going to do anything other than what you just described. Okay, so if we go back, if we if we set that aside for a million and go, something should not be completely done by a computer robot AI or whatever you want to call it, Uh and we say that actually what happens is some tasks will become able to be done.

Fire a robot. How would you as an organisation, once you’ve seen it’s happening and you, you kind of have to do it. How would you handle that? That process? Yeah, I think again it comes down to having a really fine appreciation of what people are good at and what it means to put someone in a role where they enjoy it. They’re motivated and they’re producing output, whatever that might be, whether it’s like writing legal contracts or producing copy or writing research reports that you can’t do with automation.

On the other hand, there are definitely things that can be automated for efficiency. And if I even think about my own career research. Um, you know, when I started, I was actually did a lot of coding. So that basically means reading through thousands and thousands of pages of transcript saying, You know, I’m gonna put this one in this bucket. I’m gonna grab this one and figure this other topic here about, you know, white people love cards. Something about what people like dogs. You can now use some quite smart, deep learning mechanisms to auto case.

You start building your co payments and it starts making recommendations on how things go. So, you know, if that technology has been available at that time, maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time encoding, but I would have moved on to a better job more quickly. So I think it really just falls down to an understanding where people are paid to do boring, repetitive, mundane task because we just simply haven’t been smart enough to be able to use machine learning artificial intelligence automation to be able to replace those tasks to free up their time to do more interesting and challenging tasks which hopefully they enjoy more as well.

Yeah, I think I think you’re absolutely right. There is a challenge of getting people more more into their talent zone. And I’m really locking what they’re capable of doing and not moving away from that mundane work which they shouldn’t have to do. And I think actually, if you look at the population trend they say towards 2050 the population will really start going down again. I know in the UK we’re talking about how birth rate is massively going down, so there’s less and less people around. So in a way, these two ideas are coalescing.

The march of Ai and automation is coming, the point when this possibly going to be less people around anyway. So it makes sense for everyone to get a bit smarter, uh, with how people and talent issues within a business as well. So if we’re talking about your team and your relationships with your team, how is technology affecting those relationships with your your team members? Has it changed? Has it evolved over the last five years or so? Yeah, completely. And you know, in some, sometimes you have to kind of wake up and sort of snap out of it a little bit to think how quickly things have changed.

And, you know, needless to say, covid came in. Our whole way of engaging with each other is fundamentally changed from face to face in office interactions to the type of conversation we’re having now where we’re talking over through a flat screen. But beyond that, the ability to use collaboration tools, particularly things like teams. It’s like, um, the ability to be able to use, you know, virtual white boarding to be able to record and share ideas at a pace that was never before possible has been, you know, profoundly important even for us again.

The tools that we use with with, with research obviously done on telephone, Yeah, bring people up, pay someone to do this telephone anything. Now it’s all done online. And now again, with our conversational I we’re sort of taking it to another level where we can talk to literally millions of people at once and scan through all those data and find the nuggets of insight that we’re looking for. Say it’s just been Technology has profoundly changed how we work with the tools that we’ve developed, but also the tools we use to develop those tools as well as it is it impacting your so technology like the method is changing fruit technology.

It’s the cut. Is the culture evolving because of the technology? Because of the technology? Is the way that you guys actually talk and bond as a team changing off the back of that? Yeah, yeah, that’s just sort of a funny funny observation or sometimes made. So we’ve got about 80 people on a good day in the office working away, and you can go into the office and it can be did buy it. So there’s so many people have lined up in their desk in an open plan area, and this office is really quiet.

But if you could somehow amplify all of the chat that was going on, so people are multitasking, they’re working on one thing. And then they got chat, went over there chatting away, and it sounds like you’re in the middle of the train station at peak out. It’s just that there’s a different mode of communication that people are having to talk to each other, and I think culturally that can have positive and negatives. I think positively it means that people are literally far more connected with each other, which means that they’re able to convey their ideas more quickly.

They are able to absorb what’s going on in a way that was never before possible. Therefore, everything is past our but on the other hand, underneath it all of that. I kind of can’t help but think maybe some of the benefits of simply sitting down and taking some time out and have a chat with someone where sometimes that’s where some of the best ideas come from, where you don’t feel so busy where you’ve got you’ve got time to think that you don’t feel pressure because the next messages coming in or you’re not copying another email in your inbox.

Um, so I think there’s been mixes about that, but I think culturally to answer your question, Andrew, I think smart companies find ways to keep people connected on a human level and to dampen down the amount of noise in the office from those sorts of systems to be able to allow humans to do what they do best in prayer, be creative and find time to think, rather simply react all day. Yeah, I think there’s a There’s a lot to be said that because I think if you get stuck in that chain of work, were just rushing from project to task to task.

And there’s no time to breathe as a team and have those step back and have those ideas which actually might clear away a lot of projects and tasks that you’re working on anyway, because you just get so into it right yet so into. I’ve got to get this project done on this list of tasks done and you can just step back for 15 minutes or an hour or so and just go. Actually, why are we doing this anyway? We need There needs to be space for those kind of conversations, right?

Yeah, and I don’t think I don’t think busy and productive or the same thing. And, you know, sometimes they are. Sometimes the people are busy and productive, but I think sometimes the whole system that we’ve created as a as a society, particularly in the workplace context, generates its own kind of momentum. And sometimes it’s important, I think, to take a step away from that and realise that you can. It can make you feel busy but in a way that’s not necessarily a good or productive Yeah, 100% busy.

But I agree. Businesses not is definitely not always equal to productive nous. Have you read deep work by Cal Newport, by any chance that’s a great book to read, actually really recommend that which is which talks about a product you know, productivity mainly from an individual perspective, but could be applied for everyone across the team. And he really talks in there about how to approach your day in a really productive way to get the most out of your your team. Um and yeah, I really recommend that one.

And I think it’s getting deep. What the crux of that book is that people need to be doing deep work, not shallow work and so shallow work. Is that really kind of busy work where you’re ticking boxes? You’re working on too many projects at the same time rushing from here to here, but you’re not actually getting any of that deep needle moving work done. I think it’s really important to for companies to be actually be able to help their teams have that time because I know I can’t.

I’m what I can multitask. But really, if you my best days when I just concentrate on a couple of things I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t experiment. Once we say we’ve got a whole team of developers and you know, they absolutely, always in their training with each other. So we sort of thought, Let’s let’s do an experiment I just had one meeting in the morning and one meeting in the afternoon or towards the end of the day and give them a block of six hours when literally we said, Look, we really don’t want you talking to other people unless there’s a real reason for that and you know, we got obviously they could do that if they want to have a chat one night.

But it was more so because developers are busy people and people hassling all the time, and they were chatting about different things. Productivity went up about 80% simply because we blocked their time simply by saying there’s certain blocks of time during the day where you know, through those deep, deep, sort of thinking tasks that you’re talking about and, you know, to me there was there’s a real, uh even for other types of roles. Not just developers are real learning about the challenges, actually finding the luxury of getting those people those blocks of time, because things do move so quickly.

It’s hard, and you know that people tend to slip back to their old habits because, yeah, something like oh, you know, would help with whatever rather than trying to grab for themselves or it’s challenging. But I completely agree with that idea. So have there any bin any big lessons you’ve learned? Then we’re setting up your team and to do with AI and automation, like how? How, if you’re going to advise people just in generally, not necessarily about your specific service. But if I’m a CEO and I’m expanding my team and thinking about how automation is going to work, maybe I’m thinking about is a p A and all these kind of tools are there?

Are there some big lessons that you’ve learned? Gareth? Yeah, definitely. I think I think one thing would be don’t be afraid to try things yourself. There’s just so much stuff out there you can use to mash up and create your own innovation. Um, so it’s tempting to buy things off the shelves. But there’s a whole economy around that marginal costs. And, you know, whether you want to create two differentiation sort of a related thought on that. Maybe if it’s slightly contradictory is that the 1st 80% of of coming up with when you come up with the idea the 1st 80% of achieving it is typically fairly easy.

But it’s the last 20% to get the thing working properly and make it work perfectly that it’s incredibly hard. And then you get back to that whole discussion about you know, what is the minimum viable product have easily 80% enough to get it to market, to make people believe in it, to actually get the benefit out of it or you want to go that extra 10% which might delay, um, some of the commercialisation of the technology can get people into it. And there’s no I think it’s a sort of an ironclad set of rules around that.

But I think it’s important to understand that sort of like Moore’s rule, you know, with the speed of process is doubling every other month or whatever it is, it’s a sort of kind of violent rule of life is that starts after easy, it gets progressively harder. And you’ve got to know when the picture point to say it’s near enough is good enough and take the thing to market. Yeah, okay. They say any task or project will expand into the time that is available. So yeah, at some point the work needs to be ripped from the artist’s hands.

That’s the only way ever ends up on the gallery gallery. Alright, Yeah, definitely. And we found also when you get past that sort of rumours on that sort of whatever percentage is, I keep calling at 80% that people start using the technology going. I didn’t realise that, or I didn’t think of that. So the quicker you get it to market and you start sort of again getting other minds to look at it and getting people actually use it in a live fire situation, the more you’re able to start to realise maybe some misconceptions you had or things you hadn’t realised.

So in that sense, you’ve got to be a little bit brave and, you know, someone once said to me, You know, what the definition of sort of being entrepreneurial and my feeling about it was it’s actually knowing that you can get to the 80% have no idea how to get the other 20% after that. They’re being actually very confident that you can figure it out on the fly and, you know, sometimes it doesn’t work. Most of the time it does, and you know that’s where I’m going and getting a good team around.

You are confident in their abilities to solve those problems and sort of back themselves to get the thing landed and deliver a fan. Outstanding product becomes really important. How do you ensure those conversations around innovation and like building projects? The lean way actually happened. You schedule time for people to like just to really disgusting to be really opening conversations. Well, I’m going to say that’s actually something that under since Covid broke out in Australia, we’ve had lockdowns. That everybody’s been working home has become a lot harder because in my experience, spontaneity is a really important ingredient in sort of creativity and innovation.

And, you know, there’s lots of exercises and there’s lots of tools you can use to harmonise. People are getting into sort of come up with stuff, But my feeling is a lot of the best ideas come about when people are relaxed and having a beer at the end of the week or just talking about stuff and chatting away. This is a light bulb moment comes on, but I think beyond that we do most of the things that companies do with running a product roadmap and using, agile and having user experience focusing on human centred design, all of those things that become really important.

But it sort of suggests that the dream of the idea that starts at all it still comes in flash of inspiration and hard to force that sometimes it just happens. Yeah, yeah, I get that just over when you’re just over a pint and you’ve got not something you can work on. And these things happen, which actually moves us on nicely to the next segment, which is called Living Smarter. So in this segment is all about helping your team work better and having a better quality of life and balancing out your your lifestyle is the CEO and also being conscious of your team’s lifestyle.

as well something which I think has been brought on into even more focus, because I’m sure there’s people in your team right now who have got their offices in their living rooms or, you know, maybe even in their bedrooms. So we’ve got this, like, Weird World, where work and home is becoming really compounded and impacting each other. And it’s not we’re not really in those days anymore. Like my granddad bought 20 miles up the railway line to get to the toothpaste factory. We’re not really in that world anymore.

Where there’s such a clear distinction between the two, the two things like they just collide. So I’m really interested in understanding how teams work. And when I looked on linked in, I saw that you guys have been doing like a remote walk together, like as a way of of bonding. Can you tell me a bit more about that? That that activity for what was that activity first of all? Yeah, So just on that one, I mean, I think one of the challenges of working from home is literally sitting there from the whole day.

Um, and obviously that’s not good for your health. uh, it’s difficult to sustain that over any period of time and one of our team, and I can’t remember if they saw someone else had done it. But I have been walking prodigious amounts of of her sort of spare time. Just keep your body moving and we sort of thought about that. But let’s do a competition and and sort of do a step count challenge to see who would form into teams of four. And so you can do the most steps.

And it was just this really successful because it galvanised people around, sort of a group challenge. We can motivate each other to do something that was good for our bodies as well as our minds, Um, and again during a period where I think it’s just been really important to keep challenging each other, to find new ways to connect, to be able to again When you get your screen like this, it’s hard to get a sense of the human emotion and that sort of connection with another person to find new ways to do that.

I mean, that was one example. We’ve also sort of random conversations on random subjects. We’ve had online gaming things that most companies are doing at the moment to create that sort of sense of group cohesion and belonging. So I think maybe you sort of going back to your first question. Andrew. I kind of feel that, um, it’s just really one of the things I’ve really struggled with in my career. Is asking people to do extraordinary things. And I think one of the important rules around that is something that becomes every day is no longer extraordinary.

And I kind of feel like all of us have these three domains in our lives, which is self, family, friends and work. And, you know, sometimes there in different mix, uh, at different stages of your life, you’re willing to work really hard at work. But other stages family comes first, and the one we all typically tend to forget about yourself looking after yourself. It’s hard to be good at work or to support your friends and family if you’re not looking after yourself, so you know every day and I look at the amount of you know, time that people are put into the business off their own bat.

I’m humbled and appreciative of that. But I also feel a sense of guilt. But you know, what I obviously encourage people to do is to sort of maintain balance as much as they can. Um, and for me, as a sort of a boss, I’m not always successful. But to help get the resourcing right, particularly great company can be really challenging where we’re not always relying on people to do heroic things just to carry the day. It’s a challenge. Yeah, yeah, it’s hard. So you can you can you conscious and of like, maybe team members going too hard at some time, you know, at some points and you will say to people, Look, you need to ease off and like, slow down a bit.

Is that a conversation you might have? Definitely. Yeah, definitely. And I mean, we’ve just given people a lot of discretionary leaf were under lockdown extra day. And, um, you know, it’s been hard for people to take holidays as well, because there’s nothing to do. So people have been working quite long stretches and again, another sort of observation in life that I’ve had is that you can maintain periods of stress for a short amount of time, and in fact, it can be quite helpful because it’s like getting a vaccine is another topical sort of analogy.

It makes you stronger, but you’ve got to be able to pull back from that stress level. Relax, recuperate, um, so that you sort of get that that sort of strengthening effect. But unfortunately, during over and over a period of time, it’s been hard for people to actually switch off. So we’ve been, you know, quite diligent. Our whole HR team and people and culture team have been really focused, particularly the last set of 6 to 12 months and finding ways to help people disconnect. Close the lid, um, to acknowledge people have gone above and beyond and give them a bit of time out.

So I just think it’s incredibly important. Yeah, and and also the whole thing becomes a feedback loop as well. So if people don’t close the lid on their laptop there and they work too late, then they get poor knights. They have affects their personal time, but then also they don’t sleep well and then they come back into work the next day. Not so great. And then they have to work harder and longer so the whole thing can become like a vicious circle. If you don’t have, like, good habits and, uh, attitude around this whole work life balance, Would you like, Is this something that you you’re like you’re actually enforcing with, like, guys, you know, we always down tools at a certain time, every day.

Yeah, it’s looking, to be honest with you, it would be difficult for us to do that because, like most consulting companies were a client focus industry. I mean, for example, and even our technology team. We’ve had major server migrations over the weekend, so people are working or we’re going to do that. But I think the important part of it is that people are very passionate about their job. They have to believe what they’re doing to provide that level of discretionary effort. But at the same time, it’s it’s incumbent upon us as an employer and as a group to say to people now, thank you.

Go and take some time out and it’s on us or, you know you’re in a position where I want. I want to make sure people can turn the lead off because it can actually get quite addictive as well. I think you kind of get habituated to it. And, you know, I speak from personal experience that I’m going through a pretty busy period at moment again tied to our growth. But I’m looking forward to the day issues long weekend this weekend of placing a leader and saying, It’s still gonna be there Monday.

I’ve got to relax and you know, that’s just setting an example for everybody. I hope that others can follow, but at the same time, I think it would be an authentic and me to talk to Andrew and suggests that people that don’t work hard in the company. But we do our best to make sure it’s within healthy constraints and that people get that opportunity to close the lid, so to speak. Yeah, well, I appreciate you being so honest and frank about the situation. It sounds like you do have, like, a positive approach to people’s well wellness and about at least balanced up those periods of hard work with more downtime.

So that’s great. Do you offer coaching and support in the business for? For team members who need that kind of thing. Yeah, definitely. We’ve actually had a couple of really good ones this week. We had some guys come in who run wellness programmes, talk to the whole team about that and got some absolutely amazingly positive feedback about people spending an hour just listening to these guys talking and providing advice about how to maintain wellness and balance and those sorts of things. We did another one, which was a stretching exercise during the middle of day with those guys come in and everybody stopped and got up, and that was actually also amazingly effective.

We also have a sort of a steady stream of people coming in and talking to the team about career and about. You know how to manage, um, sort of again work life, balance and strategies to be able to sort of keep things in check. So I think it’s always good for people to hear other voices. It’s not always sort of people like me or others in the business of saying things. How are but just getting diverse opinions on that and getting experiences from people who worked in other organisations and had the same challenges.

Okay, excellent. That’s that’s That’s great to hear. Have you had experiences in the past that have formed your approach to these things? So because you’re quite positive and open, So like looking after your team and not all CEOs will have such a positive attitude of some of your past experiences, like in the opposite of where of where you are now. And we don’t need to name names or call out company names or anything like that. But there have there been negative experiences where you like, right this.

I’m going to do this differently. Um, to be honest, not really. I mean, I think again, I started the company 10 years ago, and one of the great things about having your own business is you get to decide what you want to do, and, you know, you get to set a set challenges. You don’t always succeed on them. But I mean, a lot of these things come from sort of personal belief, and I’m a huge proponent of giving people choices. Um, and you know, again, I’d like to think that, you know, people love working at my company and, uh, you know, as a group were very, very close and that people feel like they’re sort of, um, have a sense of purpose in coming to work, But I wouldn’t say we’re doing it to sort of counteract the negative experience in my life.

It’s to be honest with you again. I don’t know that I’ve been all that successful at it. But what I do know is that it would be remiss of me not to set some goals, um, in achieving some of the things that I’ve always wanted to have in terms of employees participating in the work, you know, having a bit of a share of the company being able to be enabled to make their own choices within the company, to trust them as adults, to be able to give them a clear purpose and direction and get out of the way and let them get on with it with a sense that they’re allowed to try things and do things in different ways.

And I kind of feel like if I walked away from this in the future without giving that some of the ideas that decent shot, I’ll probably regret it. That’s fantastic. I’m glad. I’m glad you’ve been so inspired with those things his empowerment really important to you, then giving people the key two keys to their own car and their future. Yeah, definitely. So one of the things I remember when I was back in a long time ago and that you need doing psychology was the whole theory, X theory y management and, you know, without sort of recasting that whole sort of different modes of thinking around that.

But I truly believe that if you find the right person with the right role with the right set of goals and you give them the tools to do their job and you provide them with the direction and the support enablement, they’ll smash it out of the park, you know? And it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you put people in the wrong job or sometimes people self selected to the wrong job. And another thing that I’m really I believe in fervently is the whole Peter principle about people being promoted to the greatest level of incompetence.

You’ve got to understand that just because people look at you know, something technical doesn’t mean they’re going to be good at that sort of enabling other people. So, you know, these are These are just hard won lessons that, you know, I haven’t always got it right. Things haven’t always gone well, but you sort of start to see the same patterns over and over again. And instead of realising, maybe you’ve got to change the baby. I fundamentally believe that. Give people the right conditions and they’ll thrive and they’ll do well in their job.

You know, I think we’ve tried to do that in the company as much as we can. Yeah, And I think, Well, I think you’re right. It’s important to empower people and help them self select what they want to let them self determine their own future. And we all make we can all make mistakes. And we can all realise, I suppose at some point the thing that we thought we were right for isn’t actually right for and it’s not because we started out intentionally that way, But we just learned that it’s not for us, uh, and things and things change as well.

I suppose circumstances change. Like if you come into a company and you don’t have a family five years later and you do have a family, then maybe you’re what you want evolves as well. So I think that that’s cool. And thinking about the future takes us actually nicely into the next segment, which is called Owning Your Future. So what does the future hold for the evolved group? What’s your vision? What we’ve been doing with the conversational AI technology At the moment, Andrew is really focusing on the insides industry.

That’s like a big industry. It’s $90 billion is a huge players and you know what we’re trying to do is to use this technology to innovate, to differentiate, to create a new way that organisations can listen to people. But we also think that technology is kind of a harbouring or again to helping organisations really have meaningful conversations with a lot of people at scale. So you can kind of think of some of your favorite brands in your life. Imagine being able to talk to them whenever you want.

Imagine being able to sort of tell them what you think of their products or them reaching out to say Andrew, we’ve got a new pair of brothers that would like to get your opinion on, or just generally have an ongoing conversation with them and sort of almost think of them as part of your friendship group. And I think that for us is to sort of our vision for the future, to take this technology to a place where we can help some of the much loved brands in the world actually develop meaningful conversations with the people that then follow them. Awesome.

So, yeah, it becomes this much bigger idea about how people engage and interact, to give feedback to to to the brats. Yeah, so companies brands have personalities just like people do. Brands have a voice that China voice brands have belief brands have intent and purpose. Why can’t a brand have a conversation with a human being? All that’s been missing up to this point in time is the right technology, the right voice and a way to develop those types of relationships. It’s just a different type of relationship, and I think people people form relationships with brands because they actually care about them.

Brands are used as signals about what I believe in that can be used as a way for me to express myself. You know, I think it would be doing a disservice to 100 years of marketing and sort of the idea about what brands mean to be able to not, I think, believe that they can’t have a more direct relationships with consumers that at the moment it’s just really hypothetical. And it’s just a conceptual idea. It’s something far more concrete is possible in the future. I think, Wow, that’s like a really powerful breakthrough idea.

And I think that’s really interesting because it kind of pushing your business into an area where not just receptors of the conversation. You’re also, you know, from a survey point of view, I guess you’re like an inbound information company in somewhat in some ways where I suppose the vision you are talking about is actually having been more of an outbound kind of conversation with people as well, because you need that personality of the brand in fact, a bit of both, and suggested, I think maybe this is a slightly technical explanation, but when you’re running a survey, you can’t you can’t.

You can’t talk to everybody. So you take the samples, you say, Okay, let’s say one of my clients might have 20 million customers. I can’t afford to talk to all of them. So I’ll take a sample of 1000 and I’ll listen to the 1000. I’ll extrapolate that to 20 million. But what if you could talk to 20 million of them and you could have an ongoing conversation with them all the time? How could that brand be able to leverage all of those conversations and those relationships with his followers to develop better products, to understand what they really want to innovate, to be able to form attachments to them in a way where it’s actually reciprocal as well?

Those consumers can actually feel like their co participants and creators with that brand, and I think that’s the world we’re trying to head towards and trying to create with their technologies. Fantastic. I love that. I really love that vision. That’s really amazing. I’ll definitely keep my art to see where you go. Guys go over as well. Uh, so what’s the big take away? The CEOs can take away from today’s conversation. I’m thinking about some action steps that maybe they could take to start thinking about how they can get better at doing surveys and engaging with their employees.

Are there a couple of, you know, maybe just a couple of simple mindset ideas or things that they could put on a white board and have a conversation with their team about Yeah, I think I think it goes back to what I said before about at the heart of every transaction. Every delivery, every product, every service is a person, and there’s a technique and qualitative research. And, you know, obviously we’ve been spending a lot of time lately sort of thinking about qualitative research methods, which are where we talk to each other.

You might run focus groups in depth interview called laddering and lettering is the idea that you can keep probing the questions to get to the baseline of what your artist, you might say. I might tell you, Why do you? What’s your favourite car? And you might say BMW and I say, Why is that? It’s fast. Why is fast important? Cause I like to get places quickly. Why is that important to you? Because I like to be seem to be in control. Etcetera, etcetera were starting to reduce the thing down into a real understanding of what makes that person understands.

And I think what I’m putting my practitioner. I think every CEO can always ask. The simple question is why people are going to do this. What’s the need? What’s the motivation? Even if you’re selling something of truth, like a financial service at the bottom of it Still a person making a choice and being able to understand the choices being able to stand you know why they choose Option two instead of Option B. Being able to take the understanding of those decisions and being able to use them to develop better products and services will always be at the heart of innovation and being a great company, in my view.

Okay, that’s I think that’s a wonderful insight into the questions that CEOs need to to ask. And I guess that can also inform marketing and marketing and advertising strategies as well. Having that information, Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think all of us rock up to work and depending on what have you where you always get stuck in your own world, it’s the old saying, Get a person to have her in all the world becomes a male but are going to be able to break out of that and try to keep asking the questions about Why does this happen and why does that happen and try to take it back to the sort of the root course in all things, you know, So you’re not just a finance person or you’re not just a marketing person or you’re not just the the subscriber where everybody is sort of thinking about why things as they are.

And I think in some ways I’ve sort of started using the term thoughtfulness around that. And, you know, obviously mindfulness has been around for a while, but I think thoughtfulness is a sort of a work principal. It’s very underrated, and, you know, it’s very easy just to respond to things without really thinking about that. But when you actually start to think about why things occur and you start to get past that immediate, visceral reaction about things, you start to make better decisions, and you start to think a little bit more clearly ahead about you know, the choices that you’ve got and start to make the calls that you can start to rank them up and put them in front of each other and things start to happen.

because you’re sort of just not responding to stuff in a very shallow way. Yeah, and I think that’s so important because we all have a habit of telling ourselves stories, right. We get one nugget of information or we formed past beliefs and perspectives about things. So we shaped the world that we have around us to make decisions about that based on that quite limited perspective of the world, What you’re talking about is getting a wider perspective and maybe a more healthy perspective of how things really are.

Yeah, look, I could go down the whole rabbit hole with that one as well. Andrew around mind dissimulation, and we’re absolutely bounded by, you know, experiences and everything else. And I think again, working with a team and and going through that process of thoughtfulness and actually challenging each other’s preconceptions and and sort of beliefs about why things are is just I actually I really enjoy it. But again, I think you know, from a managerial perspective, it’s healthy, and it provokes people to go outside of their comfort zone and getting to the point where you can have that level of honesty within the business and people just don’t take sort of a fairly shallow explanation or something.

It’s fun. It’s enjoyable. It leads to good outcomes. So I completely agree. Brilliant. Okay, so just wrapping things up now, where can people go to learn more about the evolved group? About what you do? Yeah, I think I think the best place would be our website. So, uh, the evolved group dot com And on that we’ve got a blog called Involve thinking where we’ve got lots of articles and explanations of the sorts of areas that we’ve been working on, as well as the sorts of products and services that we provide.

Um, so yeah, that would that would be the best resource I think to start off with. And, of course, we’re more than willing to answer any questions that anybody has. Awesome. I’ve really enjoyed having you on the show today. Gaffe. And not only Gareth, also his cat big shout out to gaffes Cat, who also joined us for a couple of moments. If you’ve heard a few met meals, uh, so you know, it was awesome. Having Gareth on the show to learn about conversational ai and all these are interesting stuff.

And in fact, I’m sure we might ask you to come back on the show in the future and talk about how the mind is a simulation because I think that could make a great, great episode as well. Yeah, thanks for joining us today, Gary. Thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed the conversation, so I had a great conversation with God. I’ve we covered so many different topics and subjects. It was interesting to hear about his company’s, um, different approach and uh, to collecting insights from customers and also from team members.

And I think it’s nice to hear as well about Gaffs approach and the rest of the team at the evolved group’s approach to keeping things human And like not trying to make everything automated and robotic and trying to actually realise that there’s some things which are much better than by humans and is much more suited to them and actually much more engaging and enjoyable for for for people as well. So that was food for thought, and, ah, I think for you the list that it’s worth considering, perhaps, and asking yourself, Am I making the most of the talent within my business or are there certain tasks which team members are doing which are repetitive and which really could be automated, which will free up that talent for something else, which is much more valuable for my business?

I think that’s a an important question that all of us need to be asking. I think Gareth also shared about how his team are trying to, uh, do their best to support good work life balance within the business. But that also has to be done in a realistic way because there’s clients to serve, deadlines to meet and so on. So there’s times when people have to work harder, and I know from my own personal experience that that’s just the reality. Sometimes if a project is going to get over the line, we just need to work a bit harder.

But that needs to be balanced with keeping an eye on the health and well being of our team members and trying to help them fries and sustain those energy levels. Because if we just keep asking people to work hard all the time, which I do see happen, then people will just burn out and they won’t stay with the business, they will go elsewhere. So these things do have to be to be balanced in smart business owners and CEOs like Tariff understand that as well. It was also enjoyable to hear about gaffes, idea for the future of the evolved group and the the the idea that not only will they be like this kind of inbound survey company, where they’re cleverly gaining insights from people’s interactions with their AI, but also starting to have bigger conversations and almost touching on branding and marketing with how that goes as well.

So I thought that was that was interesting to hear about as well. Uh, yeah, I’ll definitely be watching this space for where things go with Gary from the vault group. And thanks again for coming on and being fantastic guests and you go and check out gaffes. Um, business. I’ll put the link in the show notes, and you can head to interstellar dot show and find today’s episode and the show notes. You can also subscribe there. If you’re listening on apple podcasts or Google podcasts or wherever you are, then please leave a review and let us know what you thought about today’s episode And don’t forget to subscribe as well.

So thanks for being here. I will see you in the next episode of the Interstellar business show.

mhm. Welcome to the interstellar business show. My name is Andrew Bull. I’ll be your host and guide on this journey of growing, working and living smarter. This show is especially for CEOs and future CEOs who are working in tech driven industries. Today I’m going to be talking with guard Chandler, who is the CEO of the evolved group. Now the evolved group is helping businesses find greater and better insights from their customers and also from their workforces and use them to create powerful changes within their businesses. And I’m going to be talking to gaffe about what that actually means and why you should care about it.

I’ll also be talking to Gareth about the workplace culture of his business and how they’re trying to help their team maintain work life balance, but do it in a realistic, sustainable way. We’ll also be talking about the need to balance humans and technology within your business. How much should you be looking to replace with a I? Where should you be looking to unlock more of the human potential within your team? Lastly, we’ll be talking about Garrett’s vision for the future and where he thinks the evolved group will be heading.

I’m very pleased today to be joined by Gareth Chandler, who is the CEO of the Evolved group, which is a company based in Australia. But that actually serves the world. Welcome to the show, Gareth. Thank you, Andrew. Enough to be talking with you. Yeah, it’s great to have you here with us today, So this first segment is called Growing smarter. It’s all about helping CIOs, either ones who are currently CEOs or ones who will be 11 day grow smarter, whether it’s helping them grow smarter with their business or grow smarter with their minds.

I don’t know. You’re a B two B company that actually helps companies grow in a smarter way. So I’m really interested to dig in and find out. What does the evolved group actually do? What do you specialise in helping companies with? Well, if you ask you that question a few years ago, I would have said we’re a research company. But these days we prefer to call ourselves a human insights company. And that means Andrew that were a combination of a research consultancy, but also technology company. So we have our own platform and that platform helps organisations identify opportunities, optimise experiences by continually listening to their customers and markets to be able to, uh, find insights that they can use to their commercial advantage.

Okay, cool. So it’s about extracting the data and the insights that are already there. Definitely. I guess it depends on how you define their but defined there is in the minds of customers and markets. And our job is really to get those insights out in a way that companies can actually take the insight in terms of commercial benefits. So finding new customers, developing a new product, using it to improve something they’re already doing. But we do that at scale and basically have our customers generate insights that they can apply to basically making more money and being commercially successful.

So one of the ways that I saw on your website that seems to be one of the key methods that you use for grabbing hold of these key insights and helping your customers is conversational ai. So what is that good question? It’s a new type of technology that that’s really becoming more and more important than something that we’ve been working on for a number of years that either replaces or augments traditional survey with natural language conversations, much like we’re having now. And if you kind of think about when you do a survey yourself and you’re getting all of these questions in front of you, you might say, How do you rate this or How do you write that?

His You know, 10 statements tell us how strongly you agree or disagree about those. That’s really an imposition of someone else’s expectations about what’s important to you in a way that’s not very engaging and often doesn’t really get to the heart of what you really want to understand. A person thinks about so conversational. AI uses new technologies like a chat bot, but it’s kind of upside down to ask questions on you where you can reply in your own language, using your own thoughts, using your own technologies, but actually really unpack.

Why do you think what you do and then uses some fairly advanced text analytics to take? All those conversations were typically are clearer, with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people, and distil them into insights that again the company can use to say, Well, we didn’t know that or this is a new opportunity for us, or we didn’t know that this product is not quite delivering in the way they want and automating that process. That’s basically what you might call qualitative researches scale. I find that really interesting because I’ve been looking into a I copyrighting, for example, at the moment.

And a I is a big, big thing going at the moment. And I like the fact people can respond in their own ways. Would you then collapse all that unique and bespoke language that people use into? Ah, you know, the fact that 30% of the workforce feel like they’re working too many hours like you get those kind of insights from these conversations? Exactly. Yes. So traditionally, what you’d be doing, you’d say, Do you think you’re working too many hours at work? How strongly would you agree or disagree?

And if you think about most of the employee surveys is sort of one area that we apply the technology, uh, typically got 50 60 even 100 different statements like that, you sort of clicking the mouse all the time and, you know, eventually you kind of get sick of it and you might started cooking five on everything. But what our technology allows us to do is to say, Andrew, how are you going to work this this week? And you can say, Look, I’m going great, but I feel like I’m I’m pulling too many hours ago. Okay?

Can you tell me more about that? You know, there’s some complex rules in there and some sophisticated AI that helps us understand what you’re talking about. It allows us to ask sensible questions to respond with. One question with a better question will really dig into things. And then what we do is we say OK, well, maybe 12% of people have mentioned working too hard, so we can put a solid number on that. But then we can always take it back to the conversations and look at things like emotionality.

What is the drivers of people feel like they’re working too hard, what’s working too hard and what the impacts. Once you start looking at things like leave, so it’s quite a nuanced and sophisticated system, but really at the heart of it is our responsibility is to use their own language to say things in in terms of really means something to them rather than someone writing a questionnaire. That’s fantastic. I love I just love how much more human, the processes, and actually, we’ll get on to that later in the interview.

So why should CEOs really care about conversational AI? Because it sounds great. Technology sounds great, and it’s great to, of course, we want to care more about people. But if I’m looking at my bottom line and worried about balancing out all the things I need to balance out right now, I mean in the U. K. For example, we’ve got gas prices going through the roof right now, so there’s a lot of things for people to worry about. Why why should they? They allocate some worry and focus and energy towards conversational ai.

We believe that every type of product or service, every type of experience that any organisation delivers. In fact, you could say that internally, externally always comes down to human experiences. It’s always about how people experiences, whether that’s your selling shoes or in your example energy prices. What the implications for that in terms of the decisions we’re making about how you’re spending your household budget. Um, and ultimately, this technology allows a CEO to feel like they’ve got their finger on the pulse. They’re actually seeing things like that coming up, and they’re able to react to those types of issues more quickly than their competitor.

And I use that as an example. So you can imagine that tropical questionnaire. Let’s say it’s a questionnaire to help understand how companies or how households feel about an energy provider. You might not be worried about the cost of living, but all of a sudden, you during covid, we’ve got supply side inflation because the conversation is adaptive. Those sorts of trends come through, and companies using our technology can start to say, Oh, we’ve got a trend coming up. People are starting to worry about energy prices, where you’d be lucky to get that at all.

Previously, with a static survey now, not only can you start to see a trending and all of these conversations that people are having, you can actually see it far earlier than anybody else. We had examples recently. In fact, we had one client during Covid. There was using the technology to monitor workplace engagement, and when the when the pandemic broke out, they were immediately able to see what the implications were about people working from home about not obvious things, like people need more support. They needed better equipment that they didn’t have the right audiovisual equipment to be able to participate effectively in conference school.

So it’s that type of dynamic insight that the technology can deliver. As we all know, time is money and speed of response is everything in modern business that it delivers that in spades. Awesome. Yeah, I love I love the fact that you can actually respond to those emerging market trends and and and take action with them, which I think, especially with what’s happening with the workforce now. And I think we’re going through like, a revolution in many ways, in terms of how people are working and some of it, some of it, I feel, well, we’ll come back like I don’t think everyone’s gonna end up working remotely long term.

But I think there will definitely be a shift in the market of a certain amount of people working from home and a certain amount doing mix. So, yeah, there’s these big trends right now. that companies, if they want to, I suppose, retain and and attract the best talent they need to understand what people want. And I guess that’s one way that you, you guys at the evolved group can help people. Definitely. Okay, so does this. Is this kind of totally replace traditional work work? Work force surveys, then is that Is this the death of the online form?

It can do Andrew, but there’s probably two ways to answer that. Question. One is because we’re having a conversation. We actually call it a workplace companion. So we typically created an avatar that’s representative of the employee brand, and people can track to it. Maybe once a month. We got some points of track once away, other clients at every quarter. Um, the idea there is that, um, typical traditional workplace surveys annually, so this can augment a seven day you might be doing once a year. Report to the board, get the numbers together, see how you’re tracking between those annual pulses.

This is actually engaging with people in meaningful conversations and learning about what motivates them. It works. They can actually augment that within the actual conversations themselves, rather than again asking a big, long questionnaire with lots of agree or disagree. Statement. We’ve just simply say to people how things going or how are you feeling this at the moment? And they might rate that sort of score out of 10. Or we’ve got little smiley budget that they can move to actually show a face going happy or sad. And then the conversation begins.

So to that extent, it really has completely replaced traditional survey. But there’s still room to move in a workplace environment to get a structured, uh, assessment of how people are feeling, according to some validated model. And we do still do a bit of that as well. And I’m interested in what you you you say about these conversations with team members and about how they might be structured or work. Does the conversation evolve depending then, upon what someone says? Like if someone selling their feeling like, quite overwhelmed with work and then they can’t struggling to meet their deadlines, uh, will?

Will the conversation move them towards a path of getting some support? Or is it just is it just passive and like it takes the data and moves on? There’s a lot of information in language and one of the things that you can do with languages to assist people stress level. And you can use trigger words to determine if someone is actually at risk or if they’re in an emotional state, which which indicates that they need support. When we first started experimenting with the technology, we saw very quickly that people actually were very forthcoming in terms of talking to attract, but in fact far more so than they would with another human.

Because the tablet doesn’t judge and it’s not sitting there looking at them and saying, You know, pull your socks up Why are you complaining about that? People can say whatever they want. So we build in a system called danger words. And what that actually does is look at things like stress levels and key terms, such as fully harassed in this one domain. Or people are feeling stressed or uncertain. They’re feeling overwhelmed, and that will then trigger an alert, which typically that goes, uh, a little thing on the screen, saying it sounds like you might need some help.

Here’s a number of court which can go to an enterprise assistance programme provider where I can go to the HR provider or even external provider with something that might provide support for people from for example, Lifeline will be on Blewett companies in Australia that can provide those types of services. So we were very passionate about putting that in the product early on. When you look at the stats over the last 18 months or so, there’s been a huge number of those people that have actually triggered that type of alert that I’m glad to say We’ve been able to provide an offer assistance to That’s fair.

Well, thanks for doing that. That’s awesome that you guys are actually helping the person and not just providing not just taking the data from them. But you’re actually providing the most solution or steps towards a solution. Awesome. Which kind of brings us into out the next segment of the show, which is called Working Smarter. So working smarter in this segment, we’re looking at how we can help CIOs elevate the performance of their team, their own leadership and the business in general. I suppose. What I think this is a good linking places because we’re talking about that cross over between technology and humans and how and how the things are blending more.

You know, like you say now I might be having my support feedback conversations with some AI Uh, whereas in the past it might have been with weekly call catch up call with someone or a coaching session or just talked to the leader on my team. What should we definitely be keeping human in the workplace when you think about your business at the evolved group? What? What? What you definitely want to make sure doesn’t become like an AI or computerised process in terms of the business, um, humans.

I mean, I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last couple of years understanding, you know, the whole what it means to be human and what what makes the difference between a human human and something that’s purporting or attempting to sort of replicate or simulate a human. And I think what it all comes down to me is creativity and an ability for someone to be, um, exercise judgement and discretion, uh, that humans are fantastic at tasks where, um, you know, there’s a little of creativity that it’s gonna it’s gonna allow you to make something better, to be able to understand the context, too subtle region ambiguity that we all face and work every day.

Someone doing something that is mundane, repetitive, um, dehumanising. Then that’s time that that could be better spent in a job that they’re more free to do, which is unlocking more of those positive human characteristics. So once again, we’re not trying to replace humans. Do this technology. We’re really trying to automate things and optimise how people spend their times and in fact, unlocked the great traits of being humans that I doubt machines will never replace you can treat. You can teach machines to start to feed every Willie Nelson song to start producing Willie Nelson song, but it’s still Willie Nelson that is replicated, and I think humans are always going to be absolutely fundamentally important to everything about how organisations operate.

We’re not trying to change that. Okay, so how in terms of how you’re managing this automation trend as a business, how you like? What’s your strategy, then, for how you like, say, a new piece of technology comes along and, for example, we’ve got a I copyrighting now, so In some ways, blog posts can be written by a I kind of, um how how do you manage that Within the business. If, say, someone on your team was a copywriter on all of a sudden, you’ve got at all that can reduce their working week by half, or maybe even down to one day, right.

They could get all their work done in one day. How? What would your approach to be like that with your business? I think that’s actually a really interesting example, Andrew, that you’re providing there because I’ve had a good look at those those tools are laid to do that they’re based on, uh, technology is called transformers and what that basically means they’re grabbing all of the Internet. Text on the text has been put online, and they’re synthesising it and telling you, um, giving away that they can communicate that.

But underneath all of that is still someone, somewhere has written that text, and you can imagine that I’m like, OK, well, I can’t afford a copywriter, and I’m just going to use a transformer based technology to start generating copy. All I’m really doing is doing what my competitors doing and we’re all heading in a race for modernisation now. I don’t think that leads anywhere good. I would suggest that in the future. Sure, that can save you dollars. But it’s a false economy and the innovation, the creativity, the success of organisation to go beyond the boundaries of where they operated is always going to be humans.

Sure, there might be simple tasks like I want to look up there and get a good line or something, and I scan 50 pages of what other people have done, or it might come up with a machine generated line. But at the end of the day, that’s that’s a bit like fast food versus, you know, fine dining. I don’t think it sort of gets to the apple, uh, apex of what organisations really want to achieve in terms of excellence. Okay, that’s cool. So for years, so in a way, there’s always need to be that human element to a lot of these creative and innovation focused task.

Is that Is that kind of what we’re leading to here? Go? Yeah, I think so. But in the sense that I’m sure there’s a lot of mundane copyrighting to continue the analogy that can be done by machine. But that mundane copyrighting isn’t going to take an organisation to be the leader in its field through communicating with other humans at scale, using Chris concise, effective language. So I think there’s a place for both. But I never see a world in which humans are not fundamentally the ones that sort of finding that next great, you know, sentence or developing a messaging that’s really going to connect with people.

At least I have not. Okay, that’s yeah, no, no, I got I agree with you and I think that that’s kind of how I see it, as well as those of the modernisation that eventually all just the the blog post and everything will just all be the same if they’re all generated by AI. And in fact, if you think about the feedback loop, it’ll just become worse and worse. If the whole into their sort of this stuff and it’s feeding its feeding it back into itself, the whole thing will just become drivel eventually.

So, yeah, I think it’s already happening, but you can see something when you start to use those tools online and I think again there’s a time and place for everything. But I think there’s a level of naivety and expecting that the technology, particularly anytime soon, is going to do anything other than what you just described. Okay, so if we go back, if we if we set that aside for a million and go, something should not be completely done by a computer robot AI or whatever you want to call it, Uh and we say that actually what happens is some tasks will become able to be done.

Fire a robot. How would you as an organisation, once you’ve seen it’s happening and you, you kind of have to do it. How would you handle that? That process? Yeah, I think again it comes down to having a really fine appreciation of what people are good at and what it means to put someone in a role where they enjoy it. They’re motivated and they’re producing output, whatever that might be, whether it’s like writing legal contracts or producing copy or writing research reports that you can’t do with automation.

On the other hand, there are definitely things that can be automated for efficiency. And if I even think about my own career research. Um, you know, when I started, I was actually did a lot of coding. So that basically means reading through thousands and thousands of pages of transcript saying, You know, I’m gonna put this one in this bucket. I’m gonna grab this one and figure this other topic here about, you know, white people love cards. Something about what people like dogs. You can now use some quite smart, deep learning mechanisms to auto case.

You start building your co payments and it starts making recommendations on how things go. So, you know, if that technology has been available at that time, maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much time encoding, but I would have moved on to a better job more quickly. So I think it really just falls down to an understanding where people are paid to do boring, repetitive, mundane task because we just simply haven’t been smart enough to be able to use machine learning artificial intelligence automation to be able to replace those tasks to free up their time to do more interesting and challenging tasks which hopefully they enjoy more as well.

Yeah, I think I think you’re absolutely right. There is a challenge of getting people more more into their talent zone. And I’m really locking what they’re capable of doing and not moving away from that mundane work which they shouldn’t have to do. And I think actually, if you look at the population trend they say towards 2050 the population will really start going down again. I know in the UK we’re talking about how birth rate is massively going down, so there’s less and less people around. So in a way, these two ideas are coalescing.

The march of Ai and automation is coming, the point when this possibly going to be less people around anyway. So it makes sense for everyone to get a bit smarter, uh, with how people and talent issues within a business as well. So if we’re talking about your team and your relationships with your team, how is technology affecting those relationships with your your team members? Has it changed? Has it evolved over the last five years or so? Yeah, completely. And you know, in some, sometimes you have to kind of wake up and sort of snap out of it a little bit to think how quickly things have changed.

And, you know, needless to say, covid came in. Our whole way of engaging with each other is fundamentally changed from face to face in office interactions to the type of conversation we’re having now where we’re talking over through a flat screen. But beyond that, the ability to use collaboration tools, particularly things like teams. It’s like, um, the ability to be able to use, you know, virtual white boarding to be able to record and share ideas at a pace that was never before possible has been, you know, profoundly important even for us again.

The tools that we use with with, with research obviously done on telephone, Yeah, bring people up, pay someone to do this telephone anything. Now it’s all done online. And now again, with our conversational I we’re sort of taking it to another level where we can talk to literally millions of people at once and scan through all those data and find the nuggets of insight that we’re looking for. Say it’s just been Technology has profoundly changed how we work with the tools that we’ve developed, but also the tools we use to develop those tools as well as it is it impacting your so technology like the method is changing fruit technology.

It’s the cut. Is the culture evolving because of the technology? Because of the technology? Is the way that you guys actually talk and bond as a team changing off the back of that? Yeah, yeah, that’s just sort of a funny funny observation or sometimes made. So we’ve got about 80 people on a good day in the office working away, and you can go into the office and it can be did buy it. So there’s so many people have lined up in their desk in an open plan area, and this office is really quiet.

But if you could somehow amplify all of the chat that was going on, so people are multitasking, they’re working on one thing. And then they got chat, went over there chatting away, and it sounds like you’re in the middle of the train station at peak out. It’s just that there’s a different mode of communication that people are having to talk to each other, and I think culturally that can have positive and negatives. I think positively it means that people are literally far more connected with each other, which means that they’re able to convey their ideas more quickly.

They are able to absorb what’s going on in a way that was never before possible. Therefore, everything is past our but on the other hand, underneath it all of that. I kind of can’t help but think maybe some of the benefits of simply sitting down and taking some time out and have a chat with someone where sometimes that’s where some of the best ideas come from, where you don’t feel so busy where you’ve got you’ve got time to think that you don’t feel pressure because the next messages coming in or you’re not copying another email in your inbox.

Um, so I think there’s been mixes about that, but I think culturally to answer your question, Andrew, I think smart companies find ways to keep people connected on a human level and to dampen down the amount of noise in the office from those sorts of systems to be able to allow humans to do what they do best in prayer, be creative and find time to think, rather simply react all day. Yeah, I think there’s a There’s a lot to be said that because I think if you get stuck in that chain of work, were just rushing from project to task to task.

And there’s no time to breathe as a team and have those step back and have those ideas which actually might clear away a lot of projects and tasks that you’re working on anyway, because you just get so into it right yet so into. I’ve got to get this project done on this list of tasks done and you can just step back for 15 minutes or an hour or so and just go. Actually, why are we doing this anyway? We need There needs to be space for those kind of conversations, right?

Yeah, and I don’t think I don’t think busy and productive or the same thing. And, you know, sometimes they are. Sometimes the people are busy and productive, but I think sometimes the whole system that we’ve created as a as a society, particularly in the workplace context, generates its own kind of momentum. And sometimes it’s important, I think, to take a step away from that and realise that you can. It can make you feel busy but in a way that’s not necessarily a good or productive Yeah, 100% busy.

But I agree. Businesses not is definitely not always equal to productive nous. Have you read deep work by Cal Newport, by any chance that’s a great book to read, actually really recommend that which is which talks about a product you know, productivity mainly from an individual perspective, but could be applied for everyone across the team. And he really talks in there about how to approach your day in a really productive way to get the most out of your your team. Um and yeah, I really recommend that one.

And I think it’s getting deep. What the crux of that book is that people need to be doing deep work, not shallow work and so shallow work. Is that really kind of busy work where you’re ticking boxes? You’re working on too many projects at the same time rushing from here to here, but you’re not actually getting any of that deep needle moving work done. I think it’s really important to for companies to be actually be able to help their teams have that time because I know I can’t.

I’m what I can multitask. But really, if you my best days when I just concentrate on a couple of things I couldn’t agree more. We didn’t experiment. Once we say we’ve got a whole team of developers and you know, they absolutely, always in their training with each other. So we sort of thought, Let’s let’s do an experiment I just had one meeting in the morning and one meeting in the afternoon or towards the end of the day and give them a block of six hours when literally we said, Look, we really don’t want you talking to other people unless there’s a real reason for that and you know, we got obviously they could do that if they want to have a chat one night.

But it was more so because developers are busy people and people hassling all the time, and they were chatting about different things. Productivity went up about 80% simply because we blocked their time simply by saying there’s certain blocks of time during the day where you know, through those deep, deep, sort of thinking tasks that you’re talking about and, you know, to me there was there’s a real, uh even for other types of roles. Not just developers are real learning about the challenges, actually finding the luxury of getting those people those blocks of time, because things do move so quickly.

It’s hard, and you know that people tend to slip back to their old habits because, yeah, something like oh, you know, would help with whatever rather than trying to grab for themselves or it’s challenging. But I completely agree with that idea. So have there any bin any big lessons you’ve learned? Then we’re setting up your team and to do with AI and automation, like how? How, if you’re going to advise people just in generally, not necessarily about your specific service. But if I’m a CEO and I’m expanding my team and thinking about how automation is going to work, maybe I’m thinking about is a p A and all these kind of tools are there?

Are there some big lessons that you’ve learned? Gareth? Yeah, definitely. I think I think one thing would be don’t be afraid to try things yourself. There’s just so much stuff out there you can use to mash up and create your own innovation. Um, so it’s tempting to buy things off the shelves. But there’s a whole economy around that marginal costs. And, you know, whether you want to create two differentiation sort of a related thought on that. Maybe if it’s slightly contradictory is that the 1st 80% of of coming up with when you come up with the idea the 1st 80% of achieving it is typically fairly easy.

But it’s the last 20% to get the thing working properly and make it work perfectly that it’s incredibly hard. And then you get back to that whole discussion about you know, what is the minimum viable product have easily 80% enough to get it to market, to make people believe in it, to actually get the benefit out of it or you want to go that extra 10% which might delay, um, some of the commercialisation of the technology can get people into it. And there’s no I think it’s a sort of an ironclad set of rules around that.

But I think it’s important to understand that sort of like Moore’s rule, you know, with the speed of process is doubling every other month or whatever it is, it’s a sort of kind of violent rule of life is that starts after easy, it gets progressively harder. And you’ve got to know when the picture point to say it’s near enough is good enough and take the thing to market. Yeah, okay. They say any task or project will expand into the time that is available. So yeah, at some point the work needs to be ripped from the artist’s hands.

That’s the only way ever ends up on the gallery gallery. Alright, Yeah, definitely. And we found also when you get past that sort of rumours on that sort of whatever percentage is, I keep calling at 80% that people start using the technology going. I didn’t realise that, or I didn’t think of that. So the quicker you get it to market and you start sort of again getting other minds to look at it and getting people actually use it in a live fire situation, the more you’re able to start to realise maybe some misconceptions you had or things you hadn’t realised.

So in that sense, you’ve got to be a little bit brave and, you know, someone once said to me, You know, what the definition of sort of being entrepreneurial and my feeling about it was it’s actually knowing that you can get to the 80% have no idea how to get the other 20% after that. They’re being actually very confident that you can figure it out on the fly and, you know, sometimes it doesn’t work. Most of the time it does, and you know that’s where I’m going and getting a good team around.

You are confident in their abilities to solve those problems and sort of back themselves to get the thing landed and deliver a fan. Outstanding product becomes really important. How do you ensure those conversations around innovation and like building projects? The lean way actually happened. You schedule time for people to like just to really disgusting to be really opening conversations. Well, I’m going to say that’s actually something that under since Covid broke out in Australia, we’ve had lockdowns. That everybody’s been working home has become a lot harder because in my experience, spontaneity is a really important ingredient in sort of creativity and innovation.

And, you know, there’s lots of exercises and there’s lots of tools you can use to harmonise. People are getting into sort of come up with stuff, But my feeling is a lot of the best ideas come about when people are relaxed and having a beer at the end of the week or just talking about stuff and chatting away. This is a light bulb moment comes on, but I think beyond that we do most of the things that companies do with running a product roadmap and using, agile and having user experience focusing on human centred design, all of those things that become really important.

But it sort of suggests that the dream of the idea that starts at all it still comes in flash of inspiration and hard to force that sometimes it just happens. Yeah, yeah, I get that just over when you’re just over a pint and you’ve got not something you can work on. And these things happen, which actually moves us on nicely to the next segment, which is called Living Smarter. So in this segment is all about helping your team work better and having a better quality of life and balancing out your your lifestyle is the CEO and also being conscious of your team’s lifestyle.

as well something which I think has been brought on into even more focus, because I’m sure there’s people in your team right now who have got their offices in their living rooms or, you know, maybe even in their bedrooms. So we’ve got this, like, Weird World, where work and home is becoming really compounded and impacting each other. And it’s not we’re not really in those days anymore. Like my granddad bought 20 miles up the railway line to get to the toothpaste factory. We’re not really in that world anymore.

Where there’s such a clear distinction between the two, the two things like they just collide. So I’m really interested in understanding how teams work. And when I looked on linked in, I saw that you guys have been doing like a remote walk together, like as a way of of bonding. Can you tell me a bit more about that? That that activity for what was that activity first of all? Yeah, So just on that one, I mean, I think one of the challenges of working from home is literally sitting there from the whole day.

Um, and obviously that’s not good for your health. uh, it’s difficult to sustain that over any period of time and one of our team, and I can’t remember if they saw someone else had done it. But I have been walking prodigious amounts of of her sort of spare time. Just keep your body moving and we sort of thought about that. But let’s do a competition and and sort of do a step count challenge to see who would form into teams of four. And so you can do the most steps.

And it was just this really successful because it galvanised people around, sort of a group challenge. We can motivate each other to do something that was good for our bodies as well as our minds, Um, and again during a period where I think it’s just been really important to keep challenging each other, to find new ways to connect, to be able to again When you get your screen like this, it’s hard to get a sense of the human emotion and that sort of connection with another person to find new ways to do that.

I mean, that was one example. We’ve also sort of random conversations on random subjects. We’ve had online gaming things that most companies are doing at the moment to create that sort of sense of group cohesion and belonging. So I think maybe you sort of going back to your first question. Andrew. I kind of feel that, um, it’s just really one of the things I’ve really struggled with in my career. Is asking people to do extraordinary things. And I think one of the important rules around that is something that becomes every day is no longer extraordinary.

And I kind of feel like all of us have these three domains in our lives, which is self, family, friends and work. And, you know, sometimes there in different mix, uh, at different stages of your life, you’re willing to work really hard at work. But other stages family comes first, and the one we all typically tend to forget about yourself looking after yourself. It’s hard to be good at work or to support your friends and family if you’re not looking after yourself, so you know every day and I look at the amount of you know, time that people are put into the business off their own bat.

I’m humbled and appreciative of that. But I also feel a sense of guilt. But you know, what I obviously encourage people to do is to sort of maintain balance as much as they can. Um, and for me, as a sort of a boss, I’m not always successful. But to help get the resourcing right, particularly great company can be really challenging where we’re not always relying on people to do heroic things just to carry the day. It’s a challenge. Yeah, yeah, it’s hard. So you can you can you conscious and of like, maybe team members going too hard at some time, you know, at some points and you will say to people, Look, you need to ease off and like, slow down a bit.

Is that a conversation you might have? Definitely. Yeah, definitely. And I mean, we’ve just given people a lot of discretionary leaf were under lockdown extra day. And, um, you know, it’s been hard for people to take holidays as well, because there’s nothing to do. So people have been working quite long stretches and again, another sort of observation in life that I’ve had is that you can maintain periods of stress for a short amount of time, and in fact, it can be quite helpful because it’s like getting a vaccine is another topical sort of analogy.

It makes you stronger, but you’ve got to be able to pull back from that stress level. Relax, recuperate, um, so that you sort of get that that sort of strengthening effect. But unfortunately, during over and over a period of time, it’s been hard for people to actually switch off. So we’ve been, you know, quite diligent. Our whole HR team and people and culture team have been really focused, particularly the last set of 6 to 12 months and finding ways to help people disconnect. Close the lid, um, to acknowledge people have gone above and beyond and give them a bit of time out.

So I just think it’s incredibly important. Yeah, and and also the whole thing becomes a feedback loop as well. So if people don’t close the lid on their laptop there and they work too late, then they get poor knights. They have affects their personal time, but then also they don’t sleep well and then they come back into work the next day. Not so great. And then they have to work harder and longer so the whole thing can become like a vicious circle. If you don’t have, like, good habits and, uh, attitude around this whole work life balance, Would you like, Is this something that you you’re like you’re actually enforcing with, like, guys, you know, we always down tools at a certain time, every day.

Yeah, it’s looking, to be honest with you, it would be difficult for us to do that because, like most consulting companies were a client focus industry. I mean, for example, and even our technology team. We’ve had major server migrations over the weekend, so people are working or we’re going to do that. But I think the important part of it is that people are very passionate about their job. They have to believe what they’re doing to provide that level of discretionary effort. But at the same time, it’s it’s incumbent upon us as an employer and as a group to say to people now, thank you.

Go and take some time out and it’s on us or, you know you’re in a position where I want. I want to make sure people can turn the lead off because it can actually get quite addictive as well. I think you kind of get habituated to it. And, you know, I speak from personal experience that I’m going through a pretty busy period at moment again tied to our growth. But I’m looking forward to the day issues long weekend this weekend of placing a leader and saying, It’s still gonna be there Monday.

I’ve got to relax and you know, that’s just setting an example for everybody. I hope that others can follow, but at the same time, I think it would be an authentic and me to talk to Andrew and suggests that people that don’t work hard in the company. But we do our best to make sure it’s within healthy constraints and that people get that opportunity to close the lid, so to speak. Yeah, well, I appreciate you being so honest and frank about the situation. It sounds like you do have, like, a positive approach to people’s well wellness and about at least balanced up those periods of hard work with more downtime.

So that’s great. Do you offer coaching and support in the business for? For team members who need that kind of thing. Yeah, definitely. We’ve actually had a couple of really good ones this week. We had some guys come in who run wellness programmes, talk to the whole team about that and got some absolutely amazingly positive feedback about people spending an hour just listening to these guys talking and providing advice about how to maintain wellness and balance and those sorts of things. We did another one, which was a stretching exercise during the middle of day with those guys come in and everybody stopped and got up, and that was actually also amazingly effective.

We also have a sort of a steady stream of people coming in and talking to the team about career and about. You know how to manage, um, sort of again work life, balance and strategies to be able to sort of keep things in check. So I think it’s always good for people to hear other voices. It’s not always sort of people like me or others in the business of saying things. How are but just getting diverse opinions on that and getting experiences from people who worked in other organisations and had the same challenges.

Okay, excellent. That’s that’s That’s great to hear. Have you had experiences in the past that have formed your approach to these things? So because you’re quite positive and open, So like looking after your team and not all CEOs will have such a positive attitude of some of your past experiences, like in the opposite of where of where you are now. And we don’t need to name names or call out company names or anything like that. But there have there been negative experiences where you like, right this.

I’m going to do this differently. Um, to be honest, not really. I mean, I think again, I started the company 10 years ago, and one of the great things about having your own business is you get to decide what you want to do, and, you know, you get to set a set challenges. You don’t always succeed on them. But I mean, a lot of these things come from sort of personal belief, and I’m a huge proponent of giving people choices. Um, and you know, again, I’d like to think that, you know, people love working at my company and, uh, you know, as a group were very, very close and that people feel like they’re sort of, um, have a sense of purpose in coming to work, But I wouldn’t say we’re doing it to sort of counteract the negative experience in my life.

It’s to be honest with you again. I don’t know that I’ve been all that successful at it. But what I do know is that it would be remiss of me not to set some goals, um, in achieving some of the things that I’ve always wanted to have in terms of employees participating in the work, you know, having a bit of a share of the company being able to be enabled to make their own choices within the company, to trust them as adults, to be able to give them a clear purpose and direction and get out of the way and let them get on with it with a sense that they’re allowed to try things and do things in different ways.

And I kind of feel like if I walked away from this in the future without giving that some of the ideas that decent shot, I’ll probably regret it. That’s fantastic. I’m glad. I’m glad you’ve been so inspired with those things his empowerment really important to you, then giving people the key two keys to their own car and their future. Yeah, definitely. So one of the things I remember when I was back in a long time ago and that you need doing psychology was the whole theory, X theory y management and, you know, without sort of recasting that whole sort of different modes of thinking around that.

But I truly believe that if you find the right person with the right role with the right set of goals and you give them the tools to do their job and you provide them with the direction and the support enablement, they’ll smash it out of the park, you know? And it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you put people in the wrong job or sometimes people self selected to the wrong job. And another thing that I’m really I believe in fervently is the whole Peter principle about people being promoted to the greatest level of incompetence.

You’ve got to understand that just because people look at you know, something technical doesn’t mean they’re going to be good at that sort of enabling other people. So, you know, these are These are just hard won lessons that, you know, I haven’t always got it right. Things haven’t always gone well, but you sort of start to see the same patterns over and over again. And instead of realising, maybe you’ve got to change the baby. I fundamentally believe that. Give people the right conditions and they’ll thrive and they’ll do well in their job.

You know, I think we’ve tried to do that in the company as much as we can. Yeah, And I think, Well, I think you’re right. It’s important to empower people and help them self select what they want to let them self determine their own future. And we all make we can all make mistakes. And we can all realise, I suppose at some point the thing that we thought we were right for isn’t actually right for and it’s not because we started out intentionally that way, But we just learned that it’s not for us, uh, and things and things change as well.

I suppose circumstances change. Like if you come into a company and you don’t have a family five years later and you do have a family, then maybe you’re what you want evolves as well. So I think that that’s cool. And thinking about the future takes us actually nicely into the next segment, which is called Owning Your Future. So what does the future hold for the evolved group? What’s your vision? What we’ve been doing with the conversational AI technology At the moment, Andrew is really focusing on the insides industry.

That’s like a big industry. It’s $90 billion is a huge players and you know what we’re trying to do is to use this technology to innovate, to differentiate, to create a new way that organisations can listen to people. But we also think that technology is kind of a harbouring or again to helping organisations really have meaningful conversations with a lot of people at scale. So you can kind of think of some of your favorite brands in your life. Imagine being able to talk to them whenever you want.

Imagine being able to sort of tell them what you think of their products or them reaching out to say Andrew, we’ve got a new pair of brothers that would like to get your opinion on, or just generally have an ongoing conversation with them and sort of almost think of them as part of your friendship group. And I think that for us is to sort of our vision for the future, to take this technology to a place where we can help some of the much loved brands in the world actually develop meaningful conversations with the people that then follow them. Awesome.

So, yeah, it becomes this much bigger idea about how people engage and interact, to give feedback to to to the brats. Yeah, so companies brands have personalities just like people do. Brands have a voice that China voice brands have belief brands have intent and purpose. Why can’t a brand have a conversation with a human being? All that’s been missing up to this point in time is the right technology, the right voice and a way to develop those types of relationships. It’s just a different type of relationship, and I think people people form relationships with brands because they actually care about them.

Brands are used as signals about what I believe in that can be used as a way for me to express myself. You know, I think it would be doing a disservice to 100 years of marketing and sort of the idea about what brands mean to be able to not, I think, believe that they can’t have a more direct relationships with consumers that at the moment it’s just really hypothetical. And it’s just a conceptual idea. It’s something far more concrete is possible in the future. I think, Wow, that’s like a really powerful breakthrough idea.

And I think that’s really interesting because it kind of pushing your business into an area where not just receptors of the conversation. You’re also, you know, from a survey point of view, I guess you’re like an inbound information company in somewhat in some ways where I suppose the vision you are talking about is actually having been more of an outbound kind of conversation with people as well, because you need that personality of the brand in fact, a bit of both, and suggested, I think maybe this is a slightly technical explanation, but when you’re running a survey, you can’t you can’t.

You can’t talk to everybody. So you take the samples, you say, Okay, let’s say one of my clients might have 20 million customers. I can’t afford to talk to all of them. So I’ll take a sample of 1000 and I’ll listen to the 1000. I’ll extrapolate that to 20 million. But what if you could talk to 20 million of them and you could have an ongoing conversation with them all the time? How could that brand be able to leverage all of those conversations and those relationships with his followers to develop better products, to understand what they really want to innovate, to be able to form attachments to them in a way where it’s actually reciprocal as well?

Those consumers can actually feel like their co participants and creators with that brand, and I think that’s the world we’re trying to head towards and trying to create with their technologies. Fantastic. I love that. I really love that vision. That’s really amazing. I’ll definitely keep my art to see where you go. Guys go over as well. Uh, so what’s the big take away? The CEOs can take away from today’s conversation. I’m thinking about some action steps that maybe they could take to start thinking about how they can get better at doing surveys and engaging with their employees.

Are there a couple of, you know, maybe just a couple of simple mindset ideas or things that they could put on a white board and have a conversation with their team about Yeah, I think I think it goes back to what I said before about at the heart of every transaction. Every delivery, every product, every service is a person, and there’s a technique and qualitative research. And, you know, obviously we’ve been spending a lot of time lately sort of thinking about qualitative research methods, which are where we talk to each other.

You might run focus groups in depth interview called laddering and lettering is the idea that you can keep probing the questions to get to the baseline of what your artist, you might say. I might tell you, Why do you? What’s your favourite car? And you might say BMW and I say, Why is that? It’s fast. Why is fast important? Cause I like to get places quickly. Why is that important to you? Because I like to be seem to be in control. Etcetera, etcetera were starting to reduce the thing down into a real understanding of what makes that person understands.

And I think what I’m putting my practitioner. I think every CEO can always ask. The simple question is why people are going to do this. What’s the need? What’s the motivation? Even if you’re selling something of truth, like a financial service at the bottom of it Still a person making a choice and being able to understand the choices being able to stand you know why they choose Option two instead of Option B. Being able to take the understanding of those decisions and being able to use them to develop better products and services will always be at the heart of innovation and being a great company, in my view.

Okay, that’s I think that’s a wonderful insight into the questions that CEOs need to to ask. And I guess that can also inform marketing and marketing and advertising strategies as well. Having that information, Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think all of us rock up to work and depending on what have you where you always get stuck in your own world, it’s the old saying, Get a person to have her in all the world becomes a male but are going to be able to break out of that and try to keep asking the questions about Why does this happen and why does that happen and try to take it back to the sort of the root course in all things, you know, So you’re not just a finance person or you’re not just a marketing person or you’re not just the the subscriber where everybody is sort of thinking about why things as they are.

And I think in some ways I’ve sort of started using the term thoughtfulness around that. And, you know, obviously mindfulness has been around for a while, but I think thoughtfulness is a sort of a work principal. It’s very underrated, and, you know, it’s very easy just to respond to things without really thinking about that. But when you actually start to think about why things occur and you start to get past that immediate, visceral reaction about things, you start to make better decisions, and you start to think a little bit more clearly ahead about you know, the choices that you’ve got and start to make the calls that you can start to rank them up and put them in front of each other and things start to happen.

because you’re sort of just not responding to stuff in a very shallow way. Yeah, and I think that’s so important because we all have a habit of telling ourselves stories, right. We get one nugget of information or we formed past beliefs and perspectives about things. So we shaped the world that we have around us to make decisions about that based on that quite limited perspective of the world, What you’re talking about is getting a wider perspective and maybe a more healthy perspective of how things really are.

Yeah, look, I could go down the whole rabbit hole with that one as well. Andrew around mind dissimulation, and we’re absolutely bounded by, you know, experiences and everything else. And I think again, working with a team and and going through that process of thoughtfulness and actually challenging each other’s preconceptions and and sort of beliefs about why things are is just I actually I really enjoy it. But again, I think you know, from a managerial perspective, it’s healthy, and it provokes people to go outside of their comfort zone and getting to the point where you can have that level of honesty within the business and people just don’t take sort of a fairly shallow explanation or something.

It’s fun. It’s enjoyable. It leads to good outcomes. So I completely agree. Brilliant. Okay, so just wrapping things up now, where can people go to learn more about the evolved group? About what you do? Yeah, I think I think the best place would be our website. So, uh, the evolved group dot com And on that we’ve got a blog called Involve thinking where we’ve got lots of articles and explanations of the sorts of areas that we’ve been working on, as well as the sorts of products and services that we provide.

Um, so yeah, that would that would be the best resource I think to start off with. And, of course, we’re more than willing to answer any questions that anybody has. Awesome. I’ve really enjoyed having you on the show today. Gaffe. And not only Gareth, also his cat big shout out to gaffes Cat, who also joined us for a couple of moments. If you’ve heard a few met meals, uh, so you know, it was awesome. Having Gareth on the show to learn about conversational ai and all these are interesting stuff.

And in fact, I’m sure we might ask you to come back on the show in the future and talk about how the mind is a simulation because I think that could make a great, great episode as well. Yeah, thanks for joining us today, Gary. Thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed the conversation, so I had a great conversation with God. I’ve we covered so many different topics and subjects. It was interesting to hear about his company’s, um, different approach and uh, to collecting insights from customers and also from team members.

And I think it’s nice to hear as well about Gaffs approach and the rest of the team at the evolved group’s approach to keeping things human And like not trying to make everything automated and robotic and trying to actually realise that there’s some things which are much better than by humans and is much more suited to them and actually much more engaging and enjoyable for for for people as well. So that was food for thought, and, ah, I think for you the list that it’s worth considering, perhaps, and asking yourself, Am I making the most of the talent within my business or are there certain tasks which team members are doing which are repetitive and which really could be automated, which will free up that talent for something else, which is much more valuable for my business?

I think that’s a an important question that all of us need to be asking. I think Gareth also shared about how his team are trying to, uh, do their best to support good work life balance within the business. But that also has to be done in a realistic way because there’s clients to serve, deadlines to meet and so on. So there’s times when people have to work harder, and I know from my own personal experience that that’s just the reality. Sometimes if a project is going to get over the line, we just need to work a bit harder.

But that needs to be balanced with keeping an eye on the health and well being of our team members and trying to help them fries and sustain those energy levels. Because if we just keep asking people to work hard all the time, which I do see happen, then people will just burn out and they won’t stay with the business, they will go elsewhere. So these things do have to be to be balanced in smart business owners and CEOs like Tariff understand that as well. It was also enjoyable to hear about gaffes, idea for the future of the evolved group and the the the idea that not only will they be like this kind of inbound survey company, where they’re cleverly gaining insights from people’s interactions with their AI, but also starting to have bigger conversations and almost touching on branding and marketing with how that goes as well.

So I thought that was that was interesting to hear about as well. Uh, yeah, I’ll definitely be watching this space for where things go with Gary from the vault group. And thanks again for coming on and being fantastic guests and you go and check out gaffes. Um, business. I’ll put the link in the show notes, and you can head to interstellar dot show and find today’s episode and the show notes. You can also subscribe there. If you’re listening on apple podcasts or Google podcasts or wherever you are, then please leave a review and let us know what you thought about today’s episode And don’t forget to subscribe as well.

So thanks for being here. I will see you in the next episode of the Interstellar business show.

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