19 Dec 2014
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SME Productivity Cloud

Create the office love fest in 2015

By Catherine Knowles

BE Intent is a cloud-based platform designed to help individuals get more out of their life and to help businesses boost productivity.

Suzanne Hall, BE Intent founder and CEO, says, “it’s about bringing together technology and passion to help drive people towards success, both in their business and personal life. It’s about helping the mind function at its max.”

Do you survive or just thrive? Genuine connections and passion drives people, boosting productivity and increasing engagement, says James B. Avey in the Human Resource Development Quarterly.

Hope, efficacy, resilience, optimism, job satisfaction and commitment are psychological resources that can have a real impact on performance, says Avey.

There’s also a link between undesirable employee attitudes such as cynicism, turnover intentions, job stress and anxiety and poor performance, he says.

Jonathan H. Westover, in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, says in an increasingly competitive market more organisations are looking for ways to get more out of their employees.

“Although there are diverse ‘quick‐fix’ methods of achieving short term gains in worker productivity and performance, long term and enduring improvement requires a strengthening and spreading of core organisational values and beliefs that help to create a high engagement and achievement organisational culture,” says Westover.

When she was 22 Hall started Living Nature, the skincare company. In 2006, about 20 years after it was established, she sold it. By this time it was operating in 14 countries and had a turnover rate of 20 million dollars.

Hall says Living Nature had a 99% staff retention rate, and it had ‘an amazing energy and environment’.

“I didn’t know what I was doing, I just treated the staff how I’d want to be treated,” she says. “This meant I made them part of the project and encouraged them to contribute on all levels. ‘Surely that’s what you’d do,’ I thought.”

She says she found when people understood the purpose of their work they were more committed and focused.

The qualities of purpose, motivation, focus and inspiration are a fundamental part of BE Intent.

After Hall sold Living Nature she didn’t retire as she’d originally intended. Instead she was compelled to create a computer program solution that would aid in the problem of unmotivated employees. Technology, she says, is global, low cost and can adapt easily.

Research, beta testing and piloting of BE Intent took about three years. Development began with significant research into a number of areas, including neuroscience and psychology. A great deal of research was done on the brain - Hall says they looked at specific patterns and how it reacts and responds to certain situations and stimuli.

Hall says she met with world leaders and researchers, did her own investigations, and read books such as The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.

“BE Intent borrows from everything. The platform is made up from evidence, scientific research and collaboration with experts,” says Hall.

While the fundamentals remain unchanged, BE Intent can be adapted for different needs. At present, it’s available for personal and business users, but this is set to grow.

The current platform delivers a variety of solutions. Key aspects are mindfulness, gratitude, healthy habits, self-responsibility and awareness.

BE Intent is designed to be used on a daily basis and has a number of components. For one, users get sent ‘Intents’, which are images and reminders to help the brain better absorb information and increase brain synapses, says Hall.

Everything can be seen on the dashboard, and over time users can get more of an understanding of their state of mind.

“It builds on itself. It’s not a big solution to everything. With four minutes a day it’s a gentle, subtle cumulative growth of knowledge,” says Hall.

She says BE Intent currently has about 11,000 users and it’s interesting to see how people change over time when using the tool.

They’ve noted tiredness and overwhelm are two major factors for people in general, and they have seen an overall 39% increase in positivity at the beginning of the day, Hall says.

On top of this, BE Intent increases the ability to solve problems by 20%, retain information by 40% after a month of use, and with a 10% increase in productivity people have an extra hour a day of intent focus productive time, says Hall.

She says she has seen how BE Intent helps people to manage their own state of mind more successfully and there is not such an expectation on the team leader to do this.

“A female team leader who had her own strategy going with the programme had been using BE Intent for 10 months. She had been getting panic attacks and had been on anxiety medication for eight years. After using BE Intent she told me she had been off her medication for six months and said it made a huge difference,” says Hall.

Looking to the future, Hall says the team is looking to split up BE Intent into different brands. The new brands will still be supported by the original platform, but they will become their own entities, says Hall. This will help the team reach multiple audiences on different platforms and with different needs.

BE Intent Youth will be used in schools to help people manage bullying, social issues, family issues, provide positive education, help build confidence, presentation, self-esteem and communication.

Hall says they are also working on a version of BE Intent to provide employers with their own bullying programme to understand the new law, what the issues and processes are, provide resources and help people to take action.

In the acute mental health space, BE Intent is working to create a series of tools to help people manage mental health issues and is collaborating with Wise Group. Using the capability of BE Intent to compile information it can be used to gather data, be part of a user’s medical records and help to see how they’re feeling over time.

For these projects Hall says the plan is to use Snowball Effect, the New Zealand equity crowdfunding platform, to raise funds.

On top of this, the team are in the last stages of developing an iPhone app version of the desktop app of BE Intent and are aiming for a January release.

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