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What’s New With Humu—October 2018

Written by Meghan Casserly

It’s pumpkin spice season, y’all!

With Halloween around the corner, the leaves changing on the East Coast, and candy corn filling the shelves of every store in America, I’ve found myself growing nostalgic for summer (yes, already!).

But you know what I’m not nostalgic about?

Being a startup in stealth mode.

That’s right. After 18 months of piloting with partners across industries as diverse as financial services, retail, and high tech, Humu has swum out of stealth mode to unveil the Nudge Engine—technology that transforms organizations at scale using small, personal steps based on science, machine learning, and a little love.

By combining research, technology, and humanity, Humu measures what matters inside organizations to focus attention and action on the incremental—but dramatic—changes that lead to a stronger, happier, and more productive workplace.

To learn more about how the Humu system works, check out Laszlo’s blog post.

Now that we’re out, we’re swimming in one direction: towards our mission to make work better for everyone, everywhere. And we’re not looking back.

What we’re learning…

We know diversity matters. But in a new series of studies, researchers showcase the importance of gender diversity, in particular, on reducing the negative effects of status conflict (or the assertion of dominance) on psychological safety, which is an important component of healthy, creative teams. Of note, status conflict in teams has the most negative effect on creative performance when the team has a lack of female representation.

Even with roughly 50% women at Humu, we know we’re not immune from status conflict in the workplace—but it’s good to know that we’ve created a best-case team make up to combat its negative effects!

What we’re loving…

We’ll be honest—it’s been an incredibly busy few weeks at Humu HQ, and this recent HBR how-to on coping with “second-hand” stress has been a godsend. One tip that I’m personally using to get my head right is swapping my “have-tos” with “want-tos.”  Rather than ‘I have to go to this meeting,’ or ‘I have to travel for work,’ I’ve been crafting “want-to” goals. ‘I value the camaraderie of my colleagues, and I want to be with them at this conference,’ or ‘I regularly benefit from the feedback of partners, so I want to be in this meeting to receive it.’

What sounds like an incredibly simple swap has been—for me—a real game-changer!

What we’re reading…

From free-speech activist Greg Lukianoff and New York University Professor Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling Of The American Mind makes the provocative statement that “safetyism” in parenting, education, and the business world is “setting up an entire generation for failure.”

One main tenet of the book argues that anti-fragility is dangerous, and that young people—particularly on college campuses— shouldn’t be sheltered from conflict, including ideological challenges. The authors challenge the un-inviting of controversial speakers in order to make college campuses ‘safe spaces.’

As big believers of the importance of psychological safety, this one has got us thinking. Hard. Have you read—or heard anything about—this book? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to foster critical thinking in the modern world!

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