4 Upcoming Bath Digital Festival Events Not to Miss Out on

Bath Digital Festival 2019 is next week, bringing a variety of technology and science events to the South-West. 

With over 80 events to choose from, which ones should you attend?  Here are 4 talks that will help you envision and enthuse about our digital future, from computers recognising emotions to how AI will affect the workplace.  

Making Work Meaningful (again) – the Future of Work and AI

12pm – 12:45pm, Friday 25th October 2019

Perfect for: Anyone who wants to discover how AI will affect the workforce

The advent of AI has left many wondering: are humans obsolete soon? What can I do at work that will not be automated?

This talk will explore how humans can use AI and advances in Psychology and Neuroscience to understand better what makes the human mind so unique, and what we all bring to the table – in our own individual way

Interested in the event? Book your tickets here.

How to Teach Your Computer to Recognise Happiness

3pm – 3:45pm, Friday 25th October 2019

Perfect for: The tech curious 

As machine vision has rapidly improved in recent years, there has been a surge in applications of this technology to the human face. It can detect facial expressions such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. 

In this talk, we will cover the technical details of how cutting edge technologies like facial recognition software work, and discuss some of the potential uses and misuse. 

Interested in this event? Book your tickets here. 

Understanding the benefits of VR in psychological care

11am – 11:40am, Friday 25th October 2019

Perfect for: Anyone interested in psychology and VR 

Virtual reality technology is still sparse in most mainstream care environments. Jed Brown’s research has been focused on “What’s holding us back from implementing VR treatments more widely?” A year on, he believes that he understands part of the problem, and perhaps more importantly, part of the solution.

Interested in the event? Book your tickets here. 

Exploring Opportunities for a Career in Tech 

12pm – 2pm, Thursday 24th October 2019

Perfect for: Parents looking to re-enter the workforce

Learn about how you can transform your creativity and problem-solving skills into a Digital Career. We will be helping parents and career movers matching their skills to jobs alongside The Factory, Mayden Academy and ADLIB

Interested in the event? Book your tickets here. 

Webinar Keynotes: How Millennials and Generation Z are Changing the Workplace

Dr Boris Altemeyer, our Chief Scientific Officer explores this topic in our recent webinar.

Generation Z and Millennials have entered the workplace. It is believed by some that these generations have bad manners, contempt for authority and talk too much. However, generational clashes and misconceptions have been around since 400 B.C… 

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”

Socrates / Plato (disputed) 400 B.C (approx)  

This shows that generations have always clashed. This is especially true now with the rapid development of technology. Which means each new generation coming into work will see things differently based on the technology they used growing up. 

Perception vs. Reality – Why do we stereotype? 

We all look at the world in a different way. In psychology, we tend to say that the number of realities in a room is the number of people in the room plus one (which is what is actually happening).  

Our brain likes making shortcuts in order to make quick decisions. However, these shortcuts aren’t always accurate and can lead to some generalisations. Ageism is a problem that stems from biases. Being unconsciously biased is an inherent part of being human – even if we try to avoid it or correct ourselves. Below are the main bias ‘shortcuts’ that create stark differences in the perception of different groups and generations of people.

  • In-Group/Out-Group Bias – we prefer people from our own group.  
  • Confirmation Bias – we seek information that confirms our existing way of thinking and discard information that doesn’t.  
  • Recency Bias – we tend to use the latest encounter we’ve had with that group of people as an anchor point. 
  • Bandwagon Effect – the more people say it the more we agree with it.  
  • Blind-Spot Bias – this is believing that you are ultimately right because you see things the ‘right way’. 

If you would like to find out more about biases, read our blog on unconscious bias. 

The data 

At Cognisess we have been able to collect data that represents the values of each generation. 

The generations 

Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964

Generation X: Born between 1965 and 1980

Millennials: Born between 1981 and 1996

Generation Z: Born between 1997 and 2012

Older Generations

  • Value working conditions more – they will join a company if it seems like a nice place to work and will feel proud to work there. As mobile working becomes more common, the office environment becomes less important to younger generations. 
  • Value relationships more
  • Are not so bothered about recognition – Generation Z has a 26% higher drive for recognition than Baby Boomers. If this generation isn’t recognised for their work they will find less fulfilment in a role and are more likely to leave. 

Younger Generations

  • (Slightly) less achievement-driven – there has been a slight decrease in this from Baby Boomers to Generation Z. 
  • Far less trusting – as trust is hard to come by for these generations this builds a completely different work environment. 
  • More tolerant
  • Just as resilient – they don’t want to be handled with kid gloves. Younger generations just have a different way of working and ultimately want to find meaning in what they do. 

What does this mean for businesses?

  • Personalities have not changed – individual differences exist exactly as before
  • Younger generations will be attracted more to jobs that offer personal development, support and clear and frequent recognition of work
  • Work is now flexible – mobile working is not a perk anymore, it is standard
  • Generations will differ on the value of relationships – breakdown or misconception of trust will be a major issue in the workplace

For more in depth results, watch the webinar here. As a company, we are interested in providing insights into the workforce. If you would like to undertake this in your company please contact us with the form below.

Dragon Boat Race in Aid of The Mountain Way

On a lovely Sunday in early September, the annual race of the Dragons has yet again hit the calm waters of Avon. Teams from local businesses in Bath have risen to the challenge to support charities. The event also attracted strong local support, that was entertained by the live music, a friendly competition and sunny weather.

Cognisess has triumphed and brought the Gold Dragon back to their office on Argyle Street this year. The company, founded by CEO Chris Butt, is proud and happy to help raise awareness of The Mountain Way – a charity led by Andy Shaw, the founder and veteran of the Falklands War.  

Mr. Shaw was very kind to pay a visit to the Cognisess office. He delivered a moving and inspiring speech about his experience in the field. The little-known stories of soldiers are too often being swallowed by the feelings of guilt and shame only to erupt as PTSD later. The condition has led to one veteran taking his own life every 5 days in the UK.

Mr. Shaw has developed a method of how to tackle the problem. He takes a veteran on a pilgrimage to the mountains of France. With his guidance the person in distress gently learns to let go of the past and move onto the next chapter of their lives.

Mr. Shaw commented:

“As the founder of The Mountain Way I would like to thank the good people of the city of Bath for their very positive support last Sunday, the 8th of September, for showing up and competing in an exciting Dragon Boat Race, which saw teams battling it out for supremacy. We had a wonderful day on Sunday and very much look forward to next year’s event. We hope that more teams will be able to join us in what is a fun day for all concerned.”

Charity Designability also raised £10,000 at the event.  Dragon Boats will hit the waters of Avon next year again, but the race for Cognisess and The Mountain Way are not finished yet. The aim is to raise awareness of the cause and help as many veterans as possible. Get involved and help protect those, who risk their lives protecting us!

How your gaming habits could help you secure a job

In the past, video games have had a bad reputation. But video games are actually good for your brain. Every time you play a video game it exercises your brain’s neuroplasticity. This is the part of your brain that helps you learn new skills. As you get older your brain’s neuroplasticity naturally declines. However, playing video games is known to have a positive impact on this ability regardless of your age. 

We live in a world where we are always trying to improve ourselves or be constantly productive. We all need to relax from time to time, otherwise, we can suffer from cognitive fatigue.  Because video games are fun, they allow us to switch off from the daily grind whilst unconsciously improving our skills at the same time. 

They also have a number of benefits. These researchers found that playing these games can help your perception, attention, memory, and decision-making skills. These skills aren’t only important in video games, they can also be used throughout our lives – particularly in the workplace.  Video games can increase your reaction time, which can be useful if you are working in a role where you need to respond quickly, for instance, a doctor who works in a hospital.  

Video games can also help you get a job. 

More and more companies are using games to assess applicants for jobs to create a more engaging experience. But these games are different from the ones you can play on your Xbox.  They are scientifically-backed and are designed to assess a candidate’s behaviour, abilities and future job performance. In 2018, the global gamification market was valued at $5.5 billion. In the future, these games may be a common part of most recruitment processes. 

Will gamers have an advantage? 

When it comes to games used in job applications, gamers may have a slight advantage. But they aren’t cheating, they have done the work to increase these skill areas. Just as much as a person who has been practising the guitar for a year will be better than a complete beginner. 

But this doesn’t mean that people who don’t play video games will be at a disadvantage in the gamified job application process. For every ability a video game can train there are other activities that can improve these skills. For example, a text-based adventure game will improve your reading ability, but reading a book will also do this. Video games are just a popular and fun way to develop these important skills. 

Technology helps us improve our lives. From conveniently paying for your meal deal on your phone to AI assistants like Alexa. Video games not only help you improve your skills but are also fun to play. This happy median will also help companies in the future fully understand job applicant’s abilities and help an individual discover their talent.

Collaboration will be a key leadership skill: How Millennials are transforming leadership and what businesses can do to prepare for it

Millennials are our future workforce. By 2025 Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the global workforce and are packed with innovative ideas on how to enhance the workplace – from flexible working to a strong company culture. According to a survey, 91% of them expressed a desire to lead. However, this generation’s perception of leadership is different from traditional leadership values.  

Research from The Duke of Edinburgh Award uncovered that only 10% of young people think discipline or dominance are desirable leadership traits. Alternatively, 58% of those young people say listening or empathy are the most important leadership traits. This shows there are clear expectations held by the young workforce surrounding leadership.  

As a result of this, we will start to see a shift in leadership style in the future, moving away from an egocentric and hierarchical management style. It will become a more collaborative process, employees will be active and valued contributors. Instead of the leader telling their teams what they need, it will become more of an open dialogue between management and employees.  

How Team Fit will help teamwork

Teamwork will become even more important, a study by IdeaPaint uncovered that 74% of Millennials prefer to collaborate in small groups and nearly 50% of Millennials believe that leadership is the empowerment of others. Our Team Fit tool will be able to help organisations with this larger emphasis on collaboration. The feature collates, maps and compares the skills of each member within a team via a user-friendly graph. It also allows an organisation to compare how collaborative each employee is. Using this tool helps businesses visually understand how a collaborative team and leader dynamic would work, as well as how collaborative their current employees are. With Millenials wanting a more collaborative leadership approach, this tool will help a leader to identify the strengths of each individual and encourage them to apply them on a regular basis to facilitate excellent overall performance.

It will be even more important for future leaders to listen to their teams and be aware of how they are feeling. This will require high emotional intelligence from these leaders, a key leadership skill according to Harvard Business Review and another attribute Team Fit measures.

Are Businesses prepared for this leadership change?

95% of businesses agreed that a new type of leadership is required to address the changes in organisational structures due to digitalisation. In the future, AI will automate a lot of menial tasks and there will be a greater focus on people and the unique abilities and soft skills they can contribute to the organisation. It will require high performing leaders to facilitate not only adopting this technology, but also assisting their employees in adapting to this new style of working.

Although it is acknowledged a new leadership style is needed by businesses and Millennials alike, only 37%  of organisations believe they have a strong digital leader in place today. How will businesses recruit leaders who have the skills to lead collaboratively and will transport the organisation into the digital age?  

What can organisations do to prepare?

At Cognisess aim to help successfully recruit future leaders in a variety of industries through their graduate schemes. Our clients include the world’s largest brewer, AB InBev to hotel giant, IHG. Our platform is designed to help identify those potential leaders who can transform organisations to operate more effectively in the digital age.

To achieve this we assess all the specific attributes an applicant will need in their industry, the job role and the culture and teams they will operate in. We also benchmark the successful factors that will be needed in the future by assessing the attributes of those current loyal and high performing leaders. This data includes career values, personality traits, emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities. Analysing current high performers not only helps to understand the qualities that make for a successful leader – but it also helps to inform which applicants to recruit to future proof a high performing future workforce.

Our expert team uses this data to construct a detailed job profile based on these collective characteristics. These become the benchmark to assess graduates and other diverse recruits on Cognisess Pro. Applicants complete a series of tailored cognitive, emotional and personality based assessments. The process results in targeted applicant recommendations, increasing the chance of successful hires. Recruiting the right talented graduates provides continuity and momentum for the organisation which can be confident it is future ready, with the right people coming through in those leadership roles.

For example, we accurately assess around 600 applicants a year for IHG’s Future Leaders graduate programme, with 90% of those hired retained over the past 2 years. Our analysis of the data over recent years has helped us observe how the previously hired graduates are successfully evolving and aligning to mirror this changing dynamic between a team and their leader, with a slight increase in the presence of collaborative skills with each annual cohort. Even the hires who saw themselves as less collaborative have a 75% chance of having more collaborative traits than they think, when we compare their self reported results with their assessment results. This shows conclusively that Millennials are naturally becoming more collaborative, regardless of whether they are aware of it – or not!

Using a People Analytics platform like Cognisess Pro allows businesses not only observe the change of skills within the workforce, but identify and recruit the kind of future leaders that have the skills set to allow their organisations to be future ready. Our Team Fit tool is becoming more vital in the changing leadership landscape – and with the line between how leaders and teams interact becoming increasingly blurred, it will be critical to recruit high performing and dynamic teams to underpin a successful organisation. If you would like to try Cognisess Pro, the most advanced People Analytics and Assessment Platform on the market today – contact us for a FREE demo today.

Future Leaders: How they will transform leadership and how to spot and recruit them

Cognisess takes a look at an emerging trend in People Analytics using data and insights gained from analysing some of our client’s high-profile, global graduate recruitment schemes.

It is predicted that 50% of roles today will not exist by 2025. We will need strong leaders to guide employees through today’s rapidly changing workplace. But what will a future leader look like? How can companies identify these leaders and what skills will they need?

Key skills all future leaders will need

Adaptability  

The workplace is ever changing. Leaders will need to embrace this change to thrive. It is not only technology that is driving this change. In the future, there will be a shift in leadership style, moving away from an egocentric and hierarchical management style to focus on nurturing employees to be active and valued contributors. Instead of the leader telling their teams what they need, it will become more of an open dialogue between management and employees. This will create an environment were people and development are at the heart of the workplace. As a talent management platform, we are excited about this prospect and look forward to welcoming more organisations onto our People Analytics software.

High Emotional Intelligence

AI can process data more efficiently than humans, but there are still skills we are stronger in. A Korn Ferry study found human talent is 2.33 times more valuable compared to assets like technology. A high emotional intelligence allows future leaders to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses as well as their teams. This means the manager can troubleshoot ways to improve themselves as well as their team – creating the strongest team possible.

This ability will be supported by AI. For example, although a manager can identify why a team may not be working well together, with Cognisess Team Fit they are able to view data on employees talents and see how dynamic the group is through a series of graphs. This data supports a leaders ‘gut feeling’ with physical results they can present to colleagues.

Comfortable with embracing and leading innovation

In the future, AI and humans will work together to optimise the workplace. A leader will need to understand the new challenges and opportunities this presents – for example data management and skill building. Managers need to be open to not only accepting new technology but also managing the relationship between employees and AI. There will be workers who aren’t as comfortable with the change as others – a high performing future leader will support these people to adapt and become confident with working with technology. This will create a united and technologically minded workforce.

To stay ahead of the curve, leaders will need to keep updated on the new tools and assessments that can enhance their organisation before their competitors. By signing up to our newsletter you will hear about our products, company updates and industry news without having to leave your inbox. Sign up on our blog page.

How diverse will future leaders need to be?

The number of women the workforce is increasing and companies are continuously trying to become more inclusive of gender, race and age. There are also a number of benefits to having a diverse workforce, according to McKinsey racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%.

However, only 4% of CEOs worldwide are women according to Deloitte’s Women in the Boardroom: A Global Perspective. But the report also uncovered that businesses who have females in top leadership positions have almost double the number of women on their board. Gender diverse boards are also more likely to hire a female board chair or CEO. It seems that diversity has a multiplying effect, according to this Parliament UK report the female employment rate is at its highest since records began (71%). The current workforce is becoming more diverse than ever. In the future, females in today’s workforce will hopefully move into management positions, increasing diversity within leadership roles.


Equally, we will also need to recruit talent from all different walks of life regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, country of origin or educational background. Diversity of thinking and approach in the workplace is critical to ensure new ideas and solutions are free flowing. The danger of recruiting the same type of candidate from the same background is that you only ever get the same answers and consensus. Outside the box thinking really does come from outside of the box!

How are companies preparing for the future now?

The businesses who are adopting AI and People Analytics now are starting to get ahead of the curve. People Analytics help you to identify the attributes needed now and for the future to help develop a mobile and agile workforce for today and tomorrow.

At Cognisess we have supported a wide range of clients with their graduate programmes, from hotel giants (IHG) to the world’s largest brewer (AB InBev). These graduate programmes are developing the leadership talent of tomorrow. Although there will be universal leader traits for the future regardless of the sector (as discussed earlier on in this article), we also recognise that leaders may look different in every organisation depending on the sector or culture. For instance, a hotel manager needs to be able to work well under time pressure when solving customers queries in a fast paced hospitality environment. Whereas this would be an advantage as an AB InBev leader, but not essential.

What is the process?

Taking AB InBev’s graduate programme as an example, we initially assessed a current cohort of AB InBev’s top talent who are currently on the graduate scheme. Additionally, AB InBev wanted graduates who fitted into their strong company culture. The organisation’s most loyal employees also completed assessments on Cognisess Pro. The data collected included personality traits, emotional intelligence and cognitive abilities. The combined assessment results enabled Cognisess to uncover characteristics that correlate to success in the role and the company. Analysing their current high performers not only helps to understand the qualities that make them so successful – but informs which applicants to recruit to ensure a high performing future workforce.

Our expert team then constructed a detailed job profile based on the collected characteristics. This became the benchmark to assess the graduate recruits on Cognisess Pro. The applicants completed a series of cognitive, emotional and personality based assessments. The process resulted in targeted applicant recommendations, increasing the chance of successful hires for AB InBev. Recruiting these talented graduates who share the same values as the company and possess the qualities to lead will ensure a more efficient organisation, with the right people in those leadership roles.

Adapting to an ever-changing workforce, high emotional intelligence and being comfortable to embrace a new working relationship with AI are some of the universal traits a future leader will need. At Cognisess, we are supporting many leading companies to invest in identifying the attributes they need for future leadership and recruiting the best talent. Book a free demo of Cognisess Pro today to see how the most advanced People Analytics and AI Assessment Platform on the market today can help your organisation find the leaders of tomorrow.