Accelerating Growth Using AI: Blog Series 5/5

Accelerating Growth Using AI: Blog Series 5/5

This is the final summary blog from a series of blogs that I wrote discussing three science disciplines: 1.) Complexity Science, 2.) Relationship Science and 3.) Happiness Science. These three themes have been unified into this final blog and it is followed by board and leadership recommendations to take action on.

Complexity Science

First, complexity science is not a single theory, but rather it is a collection of theories and conceptual tools from many diverse disciplines. It is concerned with complex systems and problems that are dynamic, unpredictable and are multi-dimensional, consisting of a collection of interconnected relationships and parts. Unlike traditional “cause and effect” or linear thinking, complexity science is characterized by non-linearity.

When a complexity science perspective is a core leadership competency in a company, there is more likely an appreciation of the complex, dynamic and interconnected relationships occurring within a complex system or problem. Employees will have more curiosity and courage to explore, innovate and discover new possibilities.

This type of systemic leadership mental model thinking enables and accelerates more curiosity, more agility (elasticity) in an organizational culture to be able to execute complex business challenges and make more informed decisions to achieve sustainable outcomes.

Remember Einstein once when he once said that the definition of insanity is: ” doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What he was speaking to was that traditional simplistic or reductionist approaches to problem solving don’t work systemically to solve complex problems. Complexity science provides an approach that acknowledges and embraces the challenge of complexity and if companies want to seriously grow faster, they must learn how to think non-linearly.

A good example of complexity science is the metaverse which “is essentially a massive, interconnected network of virtual spaces,” states Rabindra Ratan, associate professor of media and information at Michigan State University “In theory, we’ll be able to move from one virtual world to another in the metaverse, but we’ll be wearing virtual reality goggles or maybe augmented reality.” Our business experiences in ordering products and services over time will increasingly take place in an interactive virtual world where we will have avatars that are as human like as we are.

Just take a look at Soul Machines or Samsung’s NEON to appreciate how fast our world is changing where man and machine are increasingly coming closer and closer together, and in many cases being able to detect what is “really” human or not, will create complex societal, ethical and legal challenges.

Relationship Science

The term relationship intelligence (RI) is about establishing, growing and nurturing relationships to build more trust. With increased trust, people simply engage more, purchase more and hence companies build more loyal customers.

Relationship intelligence is often referred to as relational capital (enabling companies to increase their profits over a longer-term horizon). In today’s highly digital intelligent world, understanding the value of RI is an area that board directors and C-suite leaders must understand and recognize that they need advanced software tools to modernize their operations to achieve what will increasingly be called “productivity revenue intelligence.”

No one would dispute that there is tremendous value in building relationship intelligence: the value of the company’s relationships with the individuals and organizations with whom it performs its business role, including relationships with external groups: suppliers, dealers, partners, customers that contributes to a company’s reputation.”

Relationship dynamics are leading indicators to a company’s financial success. To put this in perspective, IDC research has found that “companies continue to be lost in administrative overhead where business users spend on average 7.36 hours per week trying to find information and on average 8.15 hours per week trying to find people or experts.”

Now with AI, sourcing that relationship or contextual knowledge can be done literally in seconds, equalizing intelligence access across a large global knowledge source.

Time is every company’s most scarcest resource – it is finite and limited.

AI however is not, as it never sleeps and can aggregate large, diverse data sets to create a predictive relationship intelligence model, and bring a lense of clarity to a company’s operations that has never been able to easily see before.

Today, companies are storing relationship data that can be easily minded from data sources from both employee to employee interactions or employee to customer interactions and customer to employee interactions. Data sources that can be stringed together with rich social graphs can come from: emails, texts, phones, search history, calendar /meeting, etc. GPS, and even integrating financial history intelligence to include: revenue growth, profitability, share of wallet, etc.

In the past, it has been far too complicated to paint a clear picture of who is really talking to who and understand what is the relationship strength of these relationships. With advanced relationship technologies, an enterprise can more easily be able to predict revenue growth, or predict customer churn risks.

According to leading CRM software market leader Salesforce defines relationship intelligence (RI) as software technology that generates actionable insights based on relationship data of clients, colleagues and partners.

When you live in a digital world where data is easily accessible in your digital footprint from the communication interactions that I mentioned above but can also be taken many steps further on relationship intelligence to include your: web-searches – even your company car driving patterns, expense reports, facial recognition, your health patterns and even how you walk and talk —- all this data and more can be analyzed by data science and AI methods to form an accurate profile of you and your customer relationship health.

This is the relationship intelligence trajectory that our society is transforming to – with different ebbs and flows, but in time, all these pathways will connect into a collective intelligence that is hard to fully imagine -but take my word – it’s here and growing faster than many of us understand.

The representational learning (RL) science supporting relationship intelligence is rooted in the study of social network interactions. A social network is an architecture made up of a set of individuals in an organization or organizations and classifying the digital (web) linkages between the individuals. These methods identify: influential entities, factors and examine the network dynamics (frequency (recency), speed of responsiveness, density of interactions (length over time and frequency), etc.

Typically these methods are sourced from a variety of disciplines from: social psychology, sociology, statistics, graph theory, and are now supercharged with computing science and data science and AI disciplines and most important advanced visualization design skills for enabling “sense making” to contribute to actionable insights.

Relationship insights in social networks vary in size and complexity, from work projects, customer and employee communications interactions and vice versa to wide complex social networks found in Metaverse(Facebook), Microsoft LinkedIn, TikTok, or Twitter.

What is happening now is that relationship intelligence is oozing its way rapidly into core business operating processes to create more insights on customer, employee and supplier value chains and with AI overlays, companies are now able to predict the relationship health of these value chains.

Although the market is still fragmented in all workflow interactions, there are a number of leading companies advancing the field of relationship intelligence in specific business process domains, and increasingly industries.

An example of a leading relationship capital company focused on aggregating insights using AI is Introhive. This company creates relationship maps for a company’s current business contacts. Introhive helps to strengthen customer relationships, automate CRM entries and gives businesses better sales insights. Whenever you or one of your employees is getting ready to head into a sales meeting, you receive a custom email report that contains information regarding any recent news about that company, notes about recent meetings and relationship insights. Plus, Introhive helps to identify new potential relationships across your business network. This helps identify new opportunities to build relationships and grow your existing network. Deeply embedded into the Salesforce CRM infrastructures, what I like about IntroHive is the simplicity of their user interface in not only connecting relationships depths in coverage but they also help the sales professional increase their productivity by sourcing relevant data breadcrumbs on contacts and pull them automatically into Salesforce CRM contact and account objects saving hours of administrative overhead of sales professionals who have limited time in B2B sales and with CRM adoption rates continuing to be an issue, Introhive has recognized the power of helping the individual sales professionals reduce their admin overhead and gives them back precious time to focus on what’s important – the real customer.

SalesChoice has released innovations in unique areas in relationship intelligence from mining customer and sales professional psychographic profiling to identify culture and personality fit matches, and also uses sentiment mining (Natural Language Processing – NLP) AI methods to predict customer health in relationships for growth or churn risks. The company is also researching health risks in relationship social ties to predict growth or failure on more intrinsic vs extrinsic factors. This relationship intelligence is more closely affiliating with the affective computing field and augments relationship insights in unique and differentiated ways. Matching the right personality profile to sell to the right customer profile creates a stronger relationship depth fit match, and happier more fulfilled sales professionals sell more and their happiness buzz motivates customers to buy more. Happiness scores are even stronger predictors of growth as validated by MIT last month. SalesChoice is mainly focused on making the invisible visible.

Nearly 50% of sales reps surveyed in the State of Sales Report said there has been a major improvement of utilizing rep’s time as a result of using artificial intelligence.

The volume of data for example that Google indexes in one year is approximately the volume of communication data globally exchanged every four hours. This data paints the deepest and most powerful picture of our relationships, but almost all of it goes to waste. The market players identified above are all taking diverse use cases and some definitely overlap which reinforces the companies that own the communication pipes where interaction flows from are in a market advantage position if they design the underlying architectures effectively and integrate into intelligent process workflows to mine more patterns.

Relational capital is linked to social capital science theory and primarily relates to the strength of the attributes and qualities of personal relationships. The roots of this science lie in these leadership behaviours: fulfilling commitments, exhibiting social norms (emotional intelligence), respecting colleagues, valuing inclusiveness and diversity and demonstrating integrity in all interactions.

Trust is a complex and multi-faceted concept and it is increasingly important to ensure corporate cultures have trust in their leaders at all levels. Building norms and shared understandings that enable team building, exchange of ideas, valuing inclusiveness and diversity, building skills in story-telling, fulfilling commitments, being fair and leading by facts and having perspective to cultivate learning oriented cultures are all important skills to cultivate in an organization.

In every purpose led organization, the clarity of the organization’s purpose and ensuring relationship capital based on trust, healthy reciprocity exchanges, clear expectations, and accountabilities that supports both individual goals and collective goals, are key operating processes to cultivate and monitor.

Happiness Science

Communication is what stimulates innovation capacity and economic growth. It also is the human bonding agent to lubricate relationship development. We communicate more when we are also happy.

SHRM reports that it costs businesses between $4,000 and $6,000 per employee each year due to the financial impact of inadequate communication for companies of 100 employees as well as 100,000 employees. In an average year, these organizations lost $402,000 USD and $62.4 million USD, respectively.

This is a serious issue and it’s not discussed enough in our corporate board rooms.

Ask yourself, when was the last time your board or CEO discussed what is our relationship intelligence strategy and how are we building trust making skills, integrating emotional/ mental health, communication, collaboration technologies, AI and even the metaverse to enable your organization to become a powerful trust making aka “happiness production factory ?”

If we don’t build stronger skills in the emotional sciences, a key foundation to enabling relationship intelligence to flourish, we won’t accelerate our true human growth potential.

Architecting the organization of the future requires board directors and CEOs to understand the value of relationship intelligence and its growth ingredients. I predict that it won’t be too long before we start to recruit Chief Relationship and Happiness Officers or Board Director profiles that will have deeper human sciences expertise, but also in complexity sciences and what it offers to design more nimble organizations.

What is Happiness Economics?

Happiness economics and correlations to GDP actually began with Jeremy Bentham, an Englishman, who in 1781, defined a philosophy of utility that assessed the merits of an action according to how much happiness it produced. This was during the Enlightenment Period, when great thinkers sought to replace religion-based rules with rational, scientific guides to decision making and life. Bentham suggested that a happiness calculus for any action could be balanced by 12 pains (the pains of the senses, the pains of awkwardness, etc.) and 14 pleasures (the pleasures of amity, the pleasures of wealth). We have come a long way in understanding and aligning views on what happiness economics means.

Today, the factors measured in happiness economics include: economic security, quality of work, quality of consumption, leisure time, relationships, environment, and freedom and control.

This blog will primarily focus on the quality of relationships and relevancy to the quality of work and the social environment, from both a workplace and a personal perspective.

I became fascinated with relationship intelligence and its correlation to economic growth many years ago, and understand the value of collaborative culture and trust making behaviours required to build deeper customer and employee relationships. What I did not fully appreciate was the depth of research in the psychology field that focused on giving our people, our employees, our suppliers, our families, our friends the permission to feel and the importance of building a global society to speak with a richer emotional communication vocabulary and voice delivery “sound richness” to ensure the words and the sounds that we speak with are received and listened to.

Increasingly, with AI and relationship intelligence methods, we can increase our ability to see how the velocity, and value of all our human to human social networks impact or block growth economics.

Embedded in relationships is emotions and the health of their emotions and happiness matters and it is increasingly becoming a business imperative.

Happiness Science

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Permission to Feel, was authored by Dr. Marc Brackett’s, the Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. What caught my attention was that according to the 2019 World Happiness Report, negative feelings, including: worry, sadness and anger have been rising around the world, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018. The 2022 Happiness Report validated that happiness declines due to the pandemic, and increasingly stress watching the war unfold in the Ukraine is increasing the negative feelings.

Employee engagement is a major factor from the USA Gallop poll, after trending up in recent years, it saw its first annual decline in a decade dropping from 36% engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in 2021. This pattern has continued into early 2022, as 32% of full- and part-time employees working for organizations are now engaged, while 17% are actively disengaged, an increase of one percentage point from last year. The ratio of engaged to actively disengaged workers in the U.S. is 1.9 to 1, down from 2.1 to 1 in 2021 and 2.6 to 1 in 2020. The annual record high is a ratio of 2.7 to 1 in 2019.

What this tells us is that our employees are coming to work more often stressed, increasingly not happy and their emotional health and mental well-being are impacting their employee engagement (fulfilment levels, positivity), increasing risks of employee attrition, sickness, mental well-being and being ready to work productively is declining vs improving.

Purolator, a $2B company has positioned health and safety as their number one corporate priority. I expect other market leaders, post pandemic to also advance health as a #1 priority as this is simply role model governance.

There is an opportunity for all companies to integrate health and wellness innovations tied to their ESG (Environment, Sustainability and Governance) goals for improved corporate governance. Companies that are creating a work culture where their employee’s health and wellness matters, where feelings are part of the cultural tapestry will have a competitive advantage. Why? There will be new insights allowing a company to appreciate anonymously what are its employees are saying daily and make decisions on improvements that matter.

Dr. Brackett’s Yale research validated how important it is to ask these types of questions countless times: How are you? How are you feeling? How are you doing?

His research found we don’t have the vocabulary to communicate emotions specifically. We are more often to say, “great thanks, how are you?” or “everything’s fine” – but everything in our mind space is not fine. He found that one of the greatest paradoxes of the human condition is that we don’t express an honest answer orally.

However, our research is confirming that humans will confide their feelings in mood journals, as long as they know they are in a safe environment with 100% anonymity, we are more apt to say how we feel. Aggregating insights can provide context to take meaningful actions, and make systemic changes for the good.

Our lives are full of rich emotions and how I feel during the day can vary significantly depending on the dynamics of my day and source of feelings. What we know is that as humans our feelings don’t go away, if we ignore them. If we suppress them, they only become stronger, or build up inside of us, and they can easily pile up and then when we do a big emotional dump, it usually comes at a time when you least expect the feeling release. Suppressing and hiding negative feelings only increases stress so humans must have methods of managing stress, conflicts and handle them efficiently and effectively.

Dr. Brackett’s research identified five skills to help advance our organization’s leaders to become emotional scientists.

The first skill is to recognize our own emotions, and those of others, is not just in the things we think, feel and say but we must also appreciate how our facial expressions, body language and non verbal signals, and vocal tones all create emotional meaning. One of my business partners, Roger Love, the world’s #1 Voice coach, who trained Bradley Cooper to sing with Lady Gaga, A Star is Born, and also Jeff Bridges, Oscar 2010 Winner, Crazy Heart always says, our voice is our greatest instrument and impacts how others will hear and perceive us. How often are we teaching our leaders to speak and breathe deeply to maximize our impact?

The second skill is to understand our feelings, and determine their source, what experiences actually caused them and then see how they’ve influenced our behaviours.

The third skills is to label emotions with a nuanced vocabulary and have some context on the emotion factors impacting the emotion feeling *type.*

The fourth skill is to learn to express our feelings in accordance with cultural norms and social contexts in a way that tries to inform and invites empathy from the listener.

The fifth skill is to regulate emotions, rather than let them regulate us, by finding practical strategies for dealing with what we and others feel.

What is important as leaders to appreciate is that emotions are an important source as to what is going inside us or around us We have multiple senses bringing us insights from news from our bodies, our minds, and our brains are busy processing all this stimuli and formulating a point of view of the experience. We call this a feeling.

Shawn Achor’s research The Happiness Advantage, reveals the lies in the conventional idea that hard work and success lead to happiness. He’s identified, with science, that happiness comes first, then you will become successful. See his TedTalk.

The growth of the Mood Health and Wellness Application software market has already experienced a: 23.7% increase in revenue growth from 2020 to 2021. The mental health apps market increased by 54.6% in a span of 2 years from 2019 to 2021. The market is estimated to witness a y-o-y growth of approximately 20% to 22% in the next 5 years. The global mental health apps market size is expected to reach USD $17.5 billion by 2030, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. It is expected to expand at a CAGR of 16.5% from 2022 to 2030. Growing penetration and adoption of mental health applications due to their benefits in improving the mental health and well-being of patients and/or consumers and increasing awareness regarding mental health are some of the key factors boosting the growth of this market

First, happy people driver higher performance outcomes, Did you know that 90% of customers buy from people they like. Humans are attracted to positive energy and to be at your best, your mental state ensures your productivity levels are firing on more cylinders.

In building productive relationships, the value of emotional sciences tied with relationship sciences is we have a chance to bring the full capable person to work, and as we look at AI methods there are endless possibilities to connect all the dots to create a Happiness Competitive Advantage. A simple trick is even when you are feeling a little blue, try just smiling as it can trick your brain to release positive endorphins. These neurotransmitters (also sometimes thought of as hormones) will increase feelings of pleasure and well-being and also will reduce pain and discomfort.

Research also indicates that stress is contagious. Hence, the more you bathe in sadness and surround yourself with it, the more likely you are to let it affect your thoughts and impact your behaviours. In the same way, stress and negativity are contagious, so is happiness.

Building positive relationships and the deeper the positive sentiment is in the human discourse can be supported by AI (natural language processing) techniques which can measure all the interactions in your online channels, and even analyze the mood of the entire world. I know of some researchers in Germany that are working with telecom leaders to analyze and codify all voices into emotional states and even classify the # of colds, # of cough to identify health risks of COVID-19 or predict a future pandemic. This also can be used to predict mood and productivity risks of an entire country or world as these sciences continue to grow.

We have learned that the value of relationship intelligence and its root systems are predicated on trust. This blog introduced that relationship economics (see Note) and growth are strongly correlated to the Happiness Advantage, which I referred to earlier as Happiness Economics.

When was the last time your Board Directors or CEOs asked the question, how is the mood emotional vibe today with all of our employees? How are we teaching our employees that you care how they are feeling?

Happiness is big business, and its production value is accelerating as emotional intelligence ties to relationship intelligence is planted in all core operating processes, further enabled by AI will propel our world to new heights.

There may be no greater leadership governance goal than to unlock your organization’s true potential than giving your employees the Permission To Feel to Accelerate Happiness Economics.

Conclusion:

Three science discipline have been discussed in length: Complexity Science, Relationship Science and Happiness Science. There are five key leadership and board director questions that I recommend you ask and reflect on your answers:

1. Do you have an integrated strategy linking complexity science with relationship science and happiness sciences for securing a competitive edge?

2. Do you have an AI strategy and set of automated tools to support your advancements in applying complexity science, relationship science and happiness science?

3. Do you train your board directors and leadership talent in these three science domains: complexity science, relationship science, happiness science?

4. Do you integrate your ESG Reporting to these three sciences: complexity science, relationship science and happiness science as a demonstration of sustainability governance?

5. Have you evaluated your talent to identify what percentage have formal training in any or all of these three disciplines to appreciate your leadership gaps, an develop gap closure plans.

This blog has reinforces that our world is increasingly complex and problems that are being solved are non- linear in nature. Businesses increasingly buy from trusted relationships or recommendations from trusted channels to make their investment decisions. Being able to see the health of your relationships across your enterprise enables relationship intelligence that is unprecedented, and firms, like IntroHive are making this real for companies around the world. However to grow stronger relationship strength, the feelings that are embedded in these relationships determine if they are positive or negative and collectively they create a happiness quota. Organizations that are happy are more productive and produce higher quality customer experiences and retain their talent longer. They also have stronger emotional health and wellness and less stress. Bottom line, engineering happy people operating practices using science methods is an area I am researching currently and building new software innovations. It’s time we bring the humanity back into all of our operating practices. Covid-19 was a wakeup call on our human fragility and the importance of kindness, and helping each other thrive more in life.

The opportunity to bring these three science disciplines together: complexity science, relationship science and happiness science is a relatively new opportunity. My doctoral studies were in these areas, and more recently I have been learning about the permission to feel and emotional sciences, as facial expressions can easily lie. However our voices, and the sounds that we make are far more reliable and trusted communication signals.

Hence, as the world of AI increasingly brings together, big data, text, words, relationships, voices, sound, etc. and in time, we will bring all the signals together into a unified channel, we will unlock unique patterns that if thoughtfully designed with privacy at the core, we in time will be able to light up a global human performance predictive score for nations, companies and industries.

From my perspective this is not a question of if, this is merely a question of when.

References:

Note (1) See Britannica detailed definition of Complexity Science

Note (2): The preparation of the first World Happiness Report was based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, with the Centre for Economic Performance’s research support at LSE (the London School of Economics), and CIFAR (the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), through their grants supporting research at the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC (the University of British Columbia). The central base for the reports since 2013 has been SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) and CSD (the Center for Sustainable Development) at Columbia University, directed by Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Note (3). 33 books on Happiness.

Note (4). The third blog in the five-part series focused on trust making, the root of relationship capital science and discussed its importance to board directors and CEO’s to accelerate their relationship capital know how. I recommend you read all the blogs as together they unify this series.

Note (5). Fox, Justin. (January-February, 2012). The Economics of Well Being, Harvard Business Review

Note (6). Nour, David. Relationship Economics. Wiley Publishers.

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