Last week, I was invited to a People Geekup. Ok, so the name isn’t the great idea! The meetup is organised by Culture Amp who offer People Analytics services. As they tout, some of the world’s most innovative companies such as Airbnb and Slack use them.

What for? To deeply understand their staff, culture and level of engagement. Why does this matter? For me, it’s about unlocking the magical ‘discretionary effort’ where employees stop doing just their job and start taking ownership to imagine and create a better, brighter product, service or future.

What’s Culture Amp’s approach? They employ Data Scientists, Organisational Psychologists and Software Engineers to build software to gather insights that go far deeper than mere surveys. For instance, a survey may return results saying that 86% of staff complain about the faulty air-conditioner. But just like a marriage in terminal decline where the couple are arguing over the toaster setting, it isn’t about the air-conditioner! It may be about the CEO’s vision or the manager or the company’s policies. The air-condition is just more tangible.

Culture Amp have taken the concepts of data analytics which have been used for years now in helping make great business decisions and they’ve applied it to the area of HR which has often been an unpowered and uninspiring business unit. So to answer the opening question, I’d suggest taking an idea that is working well (ie Data-Driven Decisions) and applying it to a new field (ie HR). And of course, networking or people meetups is a great way to practice idea pollination!