Please tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m a business psychologist by training. My career mission to create respect, trust and kindness within organisations by helping people understand themselves and each other. I have a lovely family and great friends, spend a lot of time walking my dog, and am interested in snowboarding, depth psychology and personal development activites.
How did you end up becoming a Zapnito advisor?
Co-Founder Charles is a good friend of mine and I have seen him and Jon take Zapnito from an idea into the amazing platform it is today. When he asked me, I was flattered and jumped at the chance.
Why is Zapnito necessary and important today?
The brilliant social and cultural psychologist Jonathan Haidt has a great analogy for how we operate in the world – ‘The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant.’. The elephant is our intuitions (what we believe), the rider is our rationalisations. I believe many networks and the discussions that happen within them (in traditional media and online) end up herding our elephants into different camps; polarising our societies, coaxing us to view each other as the groups we come from or belong to rather than the individuals we are. They activate our innate tribal nature. Perhaps purpose-built knowledge networks can be like walled gardens for our riders – places where we can let the elephants rest, help riders come together and discuss, create, and make meaningful connections? The biggest social and search technology in our world not only monetise these processes en masse – they are shaping our culture at the same time. Technologies are required that disrupt this pattern and enable pluralism, constructive conversations rather than self-reinforcing arguments, and business models that provide commercial returns for many not the few.
How do you see Zapnito’s business developing in the next 5 years?
I hope it supports my aspirations above – by enabling meaningful conversations and knowledge development in a way that rewards those businesses that understand their commercial and social impact. I would like to see the core platform become scaled for greater accessibility, with focussed on-boarding and community development services made available to help many knowledge networks reach mature and sustainable stages of development.
What in your opinion/experience is the single-most important skill in running a successful start-up?
Conscientiousness – following-through.
What has been the biggest lesson you have learnt in your career to date?
To try to look at what I provide from my customer or client’s perspective.
And what is your main career goal for the next 5 years?
I have three goals: 1. To continue developing our ‘business cultural operating system’, which uses on my company Blue Provident’s CREATE employee feedback and culture improvement process. 2. To grow manifesto-based social enterprise communities that co-create frameworks, tools and processes for the development of specific types of organisational culture (we’ve just launched one called ‘Conversation Works’). 3. To create a social movement that provides training and experience for people to speak their truth and hold themselves accountable for their lives (this is launching soon).
If you could advocate one company to the world (aside from Zapnito & your own), what would it be and why?
Tough question. For me, it would have to be a non-profit that provides education or health care.
Everyone has a brilliant app idea. What’s yours?
The empathy machine – this enables anonymous five-minute calls between people for one to share how they feel and one to listen. The listener acknolwedges what the caller says. The caller feels heard. Listeners and callers get support in how to speak clearly and how to listen well. Imagine the difference that could make to lonely people in our society? Those that don’t have people to talk to?
If you had £1 billion and had to invest it in only one of the following three, which would it be and why? 1. Virtual Reality 2. Artificial Intelligence 3. Renewable Energy
None of the above – I would invest it in helping people understand and use these tools in their lives.
Please do contact me if you would like to learn more about Zapnito or even to get in touch about my work. Rob