Why invest in Human Intelligence (HI)

Striking a balance between Artificial and Human Intelligence

human-intelligence

Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence offer vast opportunities for organizations to improve efficiency and bottom line company performance. However, in the past 15 years, productivity gains in manufacturing have stagnated. Since 2007, annual growth has decreased to .7%. Companies are spending billions on new machines and software while expecting their staff to manage the business with paper forms and manual processes.s

Prioritizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) over Human Intelligence (HI) has created a “burning platform” of diminished returns. In this article we’ll look at the virtuous cycle between HI, Continuous Improvement, employee engagement, and discuss how Weever can help you leverage Industry 4.0 and digital transformation to strike a balance between the valuable intelligence provided by your people and your machines.

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HI versus AI: What’s the Difference?

Similar to how we have an intuition when there are issues with our car, operators have the same intuition about the machines they use every day. It is very useful to take your car into the dealership and have their computers run analytics on your engine, but it doesn’t replace the insight of the driver when something is “off” with their vehicle. In fact, it's usually that human intuition that lets the driver know it might be time to take a closer look under the hood.

Machines are great at crunching big data, finding patterns/insights, and making algorithmic decisions quickly. This is helpful for manufacturers who are looking to glean data for insights, detect and remove product defects from the line within existing processes. However, machines require known variables and known outcomes in order to work. They require a predictable environment. When the unknown occurs, or overhauls of processes or procedures are required, the insights provided by artificial intelligence can be limited. 

Conversely, your employees are better at dealing with new and changing situations. They can use instinct, experience and creativity when faced with process abnormalities, developing equipment maintenance issues, and quality defects. They work directly with your lines, machines, and equipment and can develop a “sixth sense” for when issues are going to occur. 

People are better at uncovering root causes, creating solutions, and interpreting where and when to apply the insights from your AI. Standard Procedures set the predictable processes and when they are not adhered to this creates an opportunity for review. An engaged employee is more likely to become aware of non-conformance issues and process abnormalities than any machine. 

A partnership between Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence should be the engine that drives innovation and continuous improvement. 

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Why is HI Important?

Improving the AI in your factory can be as simple as installing the latest update. Upgrading your HI is not so straightforward because it involves improving employee engagement. Studies from around the world have proven that improving employee engagement will result in improved company performance including increased innovation, productivity, and profitability. 

According to Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance Through Employee Engagement, which studies the impact of Employee Engagement investment at organizations like John Lewis Partnership, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Standard Chartered Bank, Toyota, Google, and others, strong employee Engagement is a sustainable competitive advantage. 

The study found that “organizations that truly engage and inspire their employees produce world-class levels of innovation, productivity, and performance.” Over the course of the 5-year, UK government-funded research project, they discovered that companies with low employee engagement earn an operating income 32.7 percent lower than counterparts with more engaged employees.

The “2012 State of the American Worker” report from Gallup made clear the impacts of improved engagement on key performance indicators. According to the survey, increased employee engagement results in:

  • 40% reduction in safety-related incidents
  • 40% reduction is quality defects
  • 37% reduction in absenteeism
  • 20% increase in productivity
  • Over 20% increase in profitability

Engaged employees have a sense of personal attachment to their work and organization; they are motivated and able to give their best to help it succeed – and from that flows a series of tangible benefits for the organization and individuals alike.

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How to foster Human Intelligence (HI)

There is a “virtuous circle” that exists in the relationship between HI, Employee Engagement, and Continuous Improvement. 

CI is what separates good organizations from great ones. The most sure-fire evidence that you are successfully cultivating HI is an employee culture dedicated to Continuous Improvement. 

When your staff are engaged they proactively find opportunities to incrementally improve processes, product quality, and safety. Simultaneously their efforts prevent machine and equipment breakdowns, saving the company time and money. This, in turn, enhances morale and retention and increases customer satisfaction and loyalty. And voila! The Virtuous Cycle of HI is born! 

How organizations foster engagement can be as unique as the company itself. There are a variety of ways to intrinsically and extrinsically motivate employees to care for the success and well-being of the company. 

Weever is a cloud-based workflow management platform that automates and engages the power of Human Intelligence and has a philosophy revolving around the “3Es”:

  1. Empowerment - Do your employees understand that they are accountable for the success of the organization? Empowerment provides employees with permission and resources to create action. 
  2. Energize - Are your employees intrinsically and extrinsically motivated for going above and beyond? If there is no “emotion” within your culture, there is a good chance your employees will do the bare minimum to not get fired. 
  3. Enable - Do your employees have the tools and resources they need to be successful? If your tools are insufficient, staff will choose not to participate where possible because the probability of success is slim. 

Ultimately, your organization’s Human Intelligence is optimized when your people are engaged and motivated, enabled to find successful outcomes, and have the time to focus on what yields real results.

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