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Calgary’s Next Economy: Cratic AI is transforming corporate culture a week at a time

Mike Procee of Cratic AI said even before the Covid-19 pandemic he was seeing a bit of “culture pandemic” in the workplace.

He spent 10 years in the oil and gas industry and when he talked with people they weren’t really engaged.

“They didn’t really light up when they talked about their role,” Procee said.

“So, we always knew that there was this kind of incident occurring within culture.”

That’s when he joined Israel Peck. The two were working on culture transformations in the company Procee worked with.

That’s when Procee got drawn into the world of culture consulting. Peck left to take a boot camp course and work on development skills and the duo came together to co-found Cratic AI.

In a nutshell, Cratic AI puts teams together each week in what they call “pulse conversations” to help them grow together.  The AI aspect is an IBM Watson-powered system that analyzes responses, draws insights and creates the next week’s questions.

“It feels like a very personalized coaching process,” Procee said.

Peck, whose career has largely been in culture transformation, said over six years he would largely be met with the same thing.

“Overwhelmingly, the most depressing part of my job was that we would go back and talk to our clients three months, four months or six months afterward, and find out that as soon as we left, everything stopped,” he said.

“You feel like you’re absolutely never making a real impact.”

Cratic AI is built on establishing a constant cycle of improvement, Peck said.

 Not your typical hierarchy

Procee recalled a group of 14 individuals at one company that, prior to Cratic AI training, would hold a typical top-down meeting.

One person was the leader in the room, and everyone sought validation from that source, Procee said. They weren’t asking questions of one another – they were there to receive information.

“We did Cratic with them as a team and it was almost like a night and day switch,” he said.

 “After that experience, they were asking questions to one another, they were challenging one another, they were open.”

With Cratic, participants get five questions throughout the week. They provide text-based answers, and that information is analyzed and then fed back to the team. At the end of the week, the group gathers together to talk about the results.

“That’s when a lot of the really rich dialogue kind of comes out,” Procee said.

Ship at sea

Procee said their journey with Cratic AI is like a ship. They sent it out to sea and came back with more and more treasure.

What working with Platform Calgary’s Junction program did was allow them to take time to go back and patch holes in that ship, Procee said.

“Business plans, marketing plans, digital materials, all things that are absolutely required for a functional business, but Israel and I did not have expertise in,” he said.

“Junction helped fill these gaps.”

The goal over the next year is to perfect the team experience, build a user base and raise cash.

By year three, Procee said they want to look at expanding beyond the business world. That could be schools, prisons, non-profits and government organizations.

“Anywhere people need to build culture and trust,” Procee said

“While continuing to solidify ourselves as the culture tool for corporations.”