LiveTiles, LiveSmiles, and a techspert’s quest for the meaning of life

There was a time long ago when the digital and emotional intelligence didn’t really overlap. We had technology for function, and humans for emotion.

But as technology has become more and more intertwined with every part of our lives, we want it to take care of our wellbeing too. From meditation apps to online therapists, now digital solutions to address everything we need to be healthier and happier abound.

It’s this connection that led Co-founder and CXO of LiveTiles, Peter Nguyen-Brown, on a six-week journey of discovery.

A reason to smile with emotional intelligence

Pete’s fascination with happiness began in 2018, when he began studying the topic in earnest.

His mentors? Harvard’s emotional intelligence series, scholars, practitioners, and most importantly, his two small children, whose words of wisdom changed everything.

“My four-year-old son thought happiness was about candy, and I accepted that as a four-year-old answer. But my seven-year-old girl was starting to build a more mature mindset.”

Pete’s daughter explained her idea of happiness and what emotional intelligence means.

“She said something along the lines of, ‘if you see somebody who’s homeless, go up to them and ask them if they’re okay and how are they feeling. Then go and get them some food or a blanket to make them feel better.’

“It was such a crystallizing moment for me. Those 10 seconds were what six weeks of research struggled to tell me through thousands of pages,” Pete said.

“It was simple… she explained through example the definition of empathy and compassion in 30 seconds.”

LiveSmiles was created three months later, a free digital wellness solution designed to help us be happier, inside and outside work.

“The concept is for us to make wellbeing an intrinsic part of our workplace, to genuinely make it part of every discussion we have and make it part of our technology,” Pete said.

The new vibe check

Being happy at work has taken on new significance as the world grapples with a pandemic, and the resulting isolation, fear, and unstable economy. Pete, who has been running businesses for about 18 years, felt more keenly than ever his responsibility to care for the LiveTiles staff around the world.

“Mental health is a big issue for businesses who have staff who are working from their kitchens or their bedrooms right now,” he said.

“I think in times like this, wellbeing issues are exacerbated by isolation. We need to accelerate our well-being initiatives as businesses and as people.”

Pete wanted to create a simple bot that would let businesses check their employees’ wellbeing. The result was Vibe, an intelligent module that sits inside Microsoft Teams as an app, and forms part of the LiveTiles Quantum intelligent toolkit.

“We strongly believe that this solution is really going to help solve some of those issues around understanding what’s really going on in your employees’ lives,” Pete said.

With Vibe, staff can receive a simple card with emoji-style faces they can click to indicate their mood. Businesses can then use the data to build an accurate picture of how staff are faring emotionally.

“I’m still optimistic this crisis will actually make us better as a society and as people, despite the short-term challenges,” Pete said.

“At the end of the day, if we can go back to what my seven-year-old taught me a few years ago, which is that being empathetic and compassionate is instinctive. It’s in us all.”

Find out more about LiveSmiles here.

Find out more about Vibe here.

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