Courtney Bigony is the Director of People Science at 15Five and the creator of Positive Product Design, which is a methodology to align tech products with the latest science of human thriving. She studied with the father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, and holds a Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She was named a 2019 Workforce Game Changer by Workforce Magazine, and has contributed pieces featured in Forbes and Huffington Post.
I have been eagerly waiting for months to release this episode and I am so excited to bring this to you. We go deep on Positive Product Design, which was just named a finalist in Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas. In addition to that, we go deep on positive psychology and how to use it as a foundation for a fulfilling career, discuss how to craft your work around your values passions and interests, and geek out on a bunch of books that you are definitely going to want to add to your reading list.
Please enjoy learning with Courtney Bigony.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES
- Courtney Bigony – Twitter, LinkedIn
- Positive Product Design
- People & orgs
- Related episodes
- Other resources mentioned
- VIA character strengths test
- Brené Brown value sheet
- Positive psychology
- High quality connections – Jane Dutton
- Tugboat Institute
- Tim Ferriss – past year review
- Feed forward interview
- School of Transformation – feelings chart
- Virtual distance
- Perceived proximity
- Gallup strengths
- Mood Meter (emotions tracking app, from Permission to Feel book)
- The Social Dilemma (documentary)
- Diana Chapman – Conscious Leadership Group
- Deep Feedback Movement
Transcripts may contain some typos. With some episodes lasting ~2 hours, it can be difficult to catch minor errors. Enjoy!
Andrew Skotzko 00:01:27 Courtney, welcome to the show. How are you today?
Courtney Bigony 00:01:31 I’m good. Thanks for having me.
Andrew Skotzko 00:01:33 Absolutely. Absolutely. As I said to you right before we hit record, this conversation is one that I’ve been very excited about for several months. I think it’s probably the ultimate fusion of some of my giant nerd brain topics, uh, between positive psychology and product development. And I think we’re going to have a very fun conversation. So I’m thrilled that you’re here. Thank you for being here. I thought it might be fun to start a little bit more on the personal side, cause we’re going to go into all the things about positive psychology and how we make that real through products. When I meet somebody who’s so engaged in what they do like you are. I love to hear how that happened. And I often find that there’s like a moment where it clicked for somebody. And I’m curious if that’s true for you.
Courtney Bigony 00:02:09 Yes. Well, I have done one thing consistently throughout my entire career, which is breaking all the rules. Um, and so I’ve written all of my job descriptions, um, ever since I’ve joined the workforce. And my journey really started actually in college when I had the opportunity to write a thesis on something that was totally of my own something that I was totally interested myself. And I wrote it on authenticity at work and how, um, who you are, is interrelated with what you do this relationship between work and identity really interested. And we see, um, musicians and artists. They blur the lines between, you know, their self and their working. And I was asking, how can we bring this into the workplace? Like in the business setting when this is how you spend the majority of your life. So that’s how it started. And I studied yoga instructors and then I became a yoga myself and I was really interested in transforming the workplace and going from yoga instructor into tech was a really interesting transition and hard.
Andrew Skotzko 00:03:09 Does that influence the way you see things in tech now? Cause I most people, I mean, I’ve been in tech a long time and most people don’t have that background, right.
Courtney Bigony 00:03:16 We’re seeing a shift in businesses towards a more mindful and conscious approach. Do you see this as a sauna and a sauna who have a mindfulness as a business model and are really interested in bringing those elements into the workplace? So yeah, I was interested in transforming the world of work. So I started in HR, um, and there’s a lot of admin work there. And as a female in tech, I had to know admin work role from the start. So saying no admin work going into HR was, was quite a thing. But what it helped me do was really identify how I could have a strategic impact on the organization. So I started out as a generalist and then a job crafted a role as an employee success researcher. So really looking at the latest science to design leading people, programs like onboarding recognition. Um, and then I met David Hassell at a conference and he saw what I did and I have this website called the deep feedback movement that really had my purpose statement on it, uh, which is people, programs backed by social science research, a strategic advantage for startups. And he was like, come, come work at 15 five and, and do this with our product.
Andrew Skotzko 00:04:19 There we go. Yeah. I remember I was looking at the deep feedback movement site the other day and I was like, oh yeah, this, this kind of makes sense for, for Courtney. I love that. So one of the things you just said that I think is really interesting and I’d love you to unpack it a little bit is job crafting. So can you just for people who aren’t familiar with that term, it, what is that and how do you do
Courtney Bigony 00:04:36 Job crafting is aligning your role to your strengths and your passions and your values. So most companies try to slot people into a job description, um, and this really gives control to the actual employee to make their role more employee centric. So more about them. And it’s an incredible practice and it’s something that we’re building into our product. Um, at 15 five, it’s a workplace technology startup, and we’re all about creating amazing workplaces and really increasing engagement and performance by helping people be their best selves. Um, and we know in the workplace, if you had one motivational bullet, make it about the work, like it’s really about the work people do. Yes. It’s about your manager, it’s about the environment. Um, but the work that people do on a day to day basis is so, so important. And job crafting really gives employees, uh, the control to job craft and create their ideal role. Well,
Andrew Skotzko 00:05:33 Since I looked at job crafting, but if I’m remembering, there’s kind of like, I think there’s like three pillars to it. Like one is one is like procedural, I think one is cognitive and one is relational. Yeah,
Courtney Bigony 00:05:44 Yeah, that’s right. And there’s, um, this one is really more task oriented. So we’re really focusing on the task and helping people identify what they do best. A lot of people don’t know what they want to do in their career. Um, and it’s really a process of self discovery. And the issue in organizations is that you immediately go into the self-development thing. It’s like, how did, how do you get up the career ladder? It’s like, pause like before self-development we need to do the self discovery work. Um, so if we can have people do this upfront work and really have a scientific understanding of their top strengths, their values, their passions, and then bringing that data into their role so they can align what they do best with the company mission. Like that’s the ideal, there’s so many like complex, you know, growth and development programs. And I like to keep it really simple and it’s understand what makes you come alive and channel that alive, productively towards the company mission and vision. And that’s how you create a win-win.
Andrew Skotzko 00:06:39 That’s really great. I think most everybody listening to this would be like, yes, please I’ll take some of that. How does somebody go about this? If, if you know, for example, they don’t work in an environment like 15 five that is so well structured to support this. I think most people I talk to are, unfortunately, they’re kind of going in alone on this journey and I think it’s hard for people.
Courtney Bigony 00:06:55 Yep. And I’m going to bring this to women at work cause I’ve, I’ve gone through this journey and I first want to note, and this is based off of a leading research on grit, how important it is for women and for everyone to place themselves in an environment that intentionally sets them up for success. So with this past year and everything that’s been going on, we are in this like really interesting upheaval, like everything is kind of suspended. Um, and I think women, you know, especially so many are leaving the workforce. And so many people, a lot of really great people are out of work right now just because of everything that’s happened. So there’s this really amazing opportunity for people to intentionally place themselves in really positive environments that set themselves up for success. So that’s what I would say first that you have the control.
Courtney Bigony 00:07:50 And I would say any leader recommended by Diana Chapman. Who’s the founder of conscious leadership. She wrote conscious leadership, um, to place ourselves in environments, um, with men and women leaders who are conscious and positive. Um, and these are leaders who operate with power with structures, not power over structures who intentionally create the conditions for your success. Um, you are integrated in their masculine and feminine who operate with equal parts, head and heart, go find those leaders, um, and go interview with them, ditch company name, go interview the leaders. The organization’s going to be a reflection of those people. So put yourself in that environment and, um, and then job craft your role. And if you don’t do that job, crafting still put a lot of control and agency in the employees hands. And there’s so much self work that people can do first before bringing it to their company.
Courtney Bigony 00:08:44 And job crafting is really about putting the control back into the employee. So you can do so much work. And again, we’re building this out into our products and it’s so important. We want it to spread at scale and we want to spread science at scale. Uh, but really high level, I would say, have a radical understanding of your top strengths. So take tests like Gallop and via. Those are the top two strengths test recommended by science, gather strength, stories from other people about who you are when you’re at your best, because we know that self-reflection is limited. We need to hear stories from other people, um, and reflect on your values, your passions, your interests, and create this really amazing strengths-based summary of who you are when you’re at your best, that you can then bring to your role and you have this amazing pot of gold, um, that you can bring with you and then use to create this win-win with the business.
Andrew Skotzko 00:09:30 Yeah. I love that. I’m so glad that you brought up the, I didn’t know it’s called via, I always referred to it as the via character strengths, um, which comes out of a U Penn, where were you at the school for your master’s? And I was really curious, that’s an amazing resource for people. The two that you mentioned that I find to be a little more slippery are, and this might sound weird is, are our values and passions. I find that in my conversations with people, those are actually the ones that have the hardest time kind of getting a handle on. When you see somebody in that situation, how do you coach them through that? Yeah.
Courtney Bigony 00:10:00 In app, we are recommending resources to people so they can do this really easily. Um, so when it comes to behavior change and positive behavior change, ease is the greatest predictor. So we need to make this, which is basically vitamin enriched software. It’s positive because I know what we do. It’s the new organic label for technology. So we need to make it really easy for people to do really healthy, amazing things through tech. Um, and so we looked to all of these thought leaders, all of these academics, a lot of the top Ted talkers are academics, um, from the field of positive psychology. And Bernay brown has this really amazing value sheet that you can look at it on her website. So we just say, go there, like scroll through her value sheet to help identify your top values. And when it comes to passions, these are things you do outside of work and at work. Um, so to help identify what fuels them, like for me, it’s reading, I basically get to read for a living. And so I job crafted that into my role.
Andrew Skotzko 00:10:55 Awesome. No, thank you for explaining that. It’s something that I think we all can constantly learn more about it and have more satisfaction, because like you said, here, we spend all of our, not all, but a huge amount of our time at work. So I think that’s a perfect pivot point into talking about positive product design. That sentence had way too many PS in it. Let’s just start really high level positive product design. I love what you just said about the organic label for technology. This is a new thing you’re bringing into the world. What is it for someone who’s not familiar? Positive
Courtney Bigony 00:11:21 Product design is a new method for creating positive technology. And we focus on not only protecting human vulnerability, but also helping people realize their full potential. So in the larger global conversation, you know, thanks to the center for humane technology, Tristan Harris, we’re doing a really amazing job, um, about calling out the problem, the problem of negative tech, which is huge. Um, and it’s because of that contrast, actually that I’ve been able to develop this new method for creating positive technology. And I see a lot of people hinting at the, but I don’t know if people have totally landed on the solution. And my hope is that positive product design can really, you know, hit the nail on the head and create measurable positive change.
Andrew Skotzko 00:12:04 For sure. Yeah. When we were, we were introduced by a previous guest, Diane from LA who’s, the chief product officer at 15 five, by the way, for the listener, we will link to all these episodes and resources. It’s all be in the show notes, but when she was, when she introduced us and I, and I got a chance to check out positive product design, I was like, oh yeah, this is exactly what we’ve been speaking to in the show. So for the listener who’s been on this journey, this is like the resource I am most excited about that I’ve come across at least in six months. Let me, we’re going to go deep on all of this. But when you say the word positive technology or the phrase positive technology, what does that mean to you? Most
Courtney Bigony 00:12:34 Technology right now, again, is focused on protecting human vulnerabilities, which is great. It’s really important step in the direction and end it’s reducing notifications, um, you know, reducing information overload. So that’s a really big part of it. And part of positive product design is an invite only collective of, of tech companies who are already doing this. And they’re publicly pledging to protecting human vulnerability. So to building technology, reducing notification and information overload, uh, maximizing the quality of screen time, not the quantity accounting for and reducing human bias, um, and thinking through the potential negative impact of their product features. So that’s one piece that’s minimizing harm, but we also need to maximize good. So how do we do that? And step one is measurement putting on my scientist hat on. And again, I’m not a scientist director of people, science at 15 five studied with Martin Seligman. Who’s the father of positive psychology, but I’ve a, master’s not a PhD. And the helping people reach their full potential piece. Step one is measurement measuring the psychological impact of the product feature. The second is aligning technology to the latest science of thriving. The third piece is encouraging healthy product use. Um, and then the fourth piece is promoting personal choice agency and control. So those are the pillars of positive product design and how you not only minimize harm, but maximize the good of your product.
Andrew Skotzko 00:13:55 I love everything you just said because it’s, it’s kind of chord, literally the that’s I’m a little bit flabbergasted right now, cause that’s like exactly why I started this show was to see the world be full of more things like that. Um, and, and as it came up in the conversation I did with David Dylan, Thomas about design ethics, really it’s this idea of going from less bad to more good, which is actually a, just a different standard. It’s a different north star. Let’s put it that way. And so I’m really curious, how do you actually do that? Because I know you’ve all been incubating this within 15 five and, and living it. So I’m so excited for the guide that’s going to come out and then we’ll link to all this on the show notes, but how does one do this? So
Courtney Bigony 00:14:33 I want to start by clarifying one point. So there’s this idea called , which is the belief that you can change the world through intentional human effort. And there’s this idea of constructive Mueller as in which has minimizing harm or mitigated Taylorism, which has minimizing harm and then constructive, which is maximizing good. And that’s why we need both of those. And so again, we start with measurement. So we worked with Scott Barry Kaufman, who’s the leading researcher on human intelligence, creativity self-actualization to create the most complete measure of human potential. And he has an amazing story. He’s basically Maslow reincarnated. Yup. Yeah, he’s incredible.
Andrew Skotzko 00:15:13 That’s do his book transcend just finished it. It’s amazing. Everyone could read it.
Courtney Bigony 00:15:18 Yeah, it’s amazing. And um, basically Maslow died at the age of 62 when he was jogging by the side of his pool before he was able to finish his theory of self-actualization and Scott found his manuscripts and finished his latest theory. So positive technology is really aligned to the latest science of self-actualization. And that’s not just looking at positive psychology to ministers. Psychology is transpersonal psychology, any field that promotes life above neutral. And so we created the most complete measure of human potential. Looking at security needs and growth needs. Most companies that are in the positive technology space look at one or two constructs. Um, but we want us to create the most complete measure. So we’re looking at health and vitality, psychological safety, resilience, self-awareness healthy selfishness, intrinsic motivation strengths, um, like everything you need in order to self-actualize into your best self. So starting with that measurement companies can start to measurably, increase their missions.
Courtney Bigony 00:16:18 If you look at Facebook, let’s just put them in of course, social tech. So social tech is focused on, you know, community and high quality relationships. If they actually want to develop technology to strengthen relationships, they need to measure it so they can pull the high quality connections scale from the human potential index to measure the impact of their products. And then they can start to design features, looking at the latest science to actually strengthen relationships with technology. And I can give you an example because I think this is, this is where people struggle. It’s like, how do we do this? How do we actually build technology that strengthens relationships? And so if I look at the connections research and Jane Dutton, she’s a leading researcher behind high quality connections go to high quality connections.com for any product person, R and D person who’s working at social software. Like that is your go-to place. Yeah. How do you strengthen relationships? So number one, measure at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, I would say Twitter would probably want to measure stability. Um, maybe also I called it relationships. I’d start there, uh, measure high quality.
Andrew Skotzko 00:17:18 We’ll just leave clubhouse out of this for now, by the way, just leave them over there. They’ll figure it out.
Courtney Bigony 00:17:24 So measure high quality relationships. And then it looking at the latest science, there’s this really interesting idea called virtual distance, which is this emotional detachment that occurs when most of our interactions are mediated by screens. I think people are feeling this a lot with the pandemic. So that’s virtual distance. And then there’s this idea of perceived proximity. So you can feel physically close to someone like you can be in the same room with someone, but feel really distant from them. And you can also be really physically distant from someone and also feel really close. So how do we increase perceived proximity through technology? How do we help people feel connected through tech? And we built a relationship building feature in 15 five, of course we’re workplace software, but relationships are really, really important, especially if between manager employee, when they start the role. And we looked at the New York times article that, you know, the 36 questions that lead to love, which was originally the research is actually helping strangers foster intimacy.
Courtney Bigony 00:18:18 It’s not between two potential love interest. So the research shows that a mutual sharing and vulnerability and mutual self-disclosure like sharing about yourself that helps to strengthen relationships and questions, questions, open up a conversation, um, and create space. So we created this question based feature that really helps to increase intimacy and connection and vulnerability between manager and employee before they dive into their work, which creates psychological safety. We know high quality relationships create psychological safety, which is the invisible fuel behind all high-performing teams. So we can actually build this research into product features and then measure pre and post. And we’re still thinking through how to do this really well and in a really easy way, but people before they hop into tech need to take this assessment, this, this human potential index to gauge where they’re at and then to see if the technology actually helps them strengthen what’s central to their potential. I
Andrew Skotzko 00:19:16 Love all this. This is so exciting. Let’s go into it more. So when you talk about this, the, the, this index, is this going to be, I imagine this is something that like a product team can build into the software and probably in some kind of survey form where they’re going to have sort of checkpoints throughout a user’s journey. Is that, am I understanding that yep,
Courtney Bigony 00:19:33 Definitely a survey, the shorter, the better usually a company can, can choose probably one or two constructs related to their mission. So Assana their workplace software and their mission is all about group flow, individual and group flow, helping teams work together effortlessly so they can choose the constructs related to their mission. I would say psychological safety cause that’s critical for teams, um, flow and probably purpose, uh, for them to measure those things and see if they’re actually increasing those constructs through their software. So different softwares, whether it’s workplace software, social software, education, software, health, and wellbeing software can choose the construct central to their mission that they want to measure. We can help leaders and CEOs measurably increase their mission.
Andrew Skotzko 00:20:19 No, this is fantastic. And what I especially love about it for looking at this from a product lens, which is one of the first lenses, I just tend to look through of given my background and what I do is one of the big conversations in the product world over the last couple of years is the shift towards outcomes driven work rather than output driven work. And what I love is that you’re creating an outcome that people can steer by that is actually promotes flourishing rather than steering by a proxy. Right? So, so many teams, especially in like the social software world, you know, their north star is engagement, which ha can have real downsides. So I’m curious as you’re, you know, whether it’s internally at 15 five or in some of the other companies you’re doing sort of early testing with what are some of those outcomes are that are becoming north stars and how are they, how are teams balancing these metrics versus the metrics that maybe they’ve been operating with? And, and the tensions that come in there right
Courtney Bigony 00:21:10 Now, companies are looking at user metrics and time spent on screens. So we need to provide an additional metric to look at, which is the psychological impact, which is what the potential index does when it comes to engagement. And, you know, time spent on screens. What we did is we actually created a new definition of engagement and I’m talking about workplace engagement, but of course this goes to, to engagement at work and beyond. So we created a new definition of engagement that, that we align our tech to. We define engaged employees as those who find work energizing, inspiring, and meaningful because they’re leveraging their highest strengths, values, and passions. This is different than, than workplace than the way that most workplaces define engagement. So that’s our north star. When you come to work, are you energized? Are you inspired? Um, do you find work meaningful and we’re aligning our entire product to that.
Courtney Bigony 00:21:57 And what’s interesting is there’s this really unique paradox that’s happening in the world at large. And if you take the long view of history, there’s a progress paradox. And so if you take the long view over time, things are getting a lot better. Actually we have increased life expectancy and literacy rates and access to education and healthcare, but subjectively things are getting a lot worse. So you see an increase in depression and anxiety, especially for women. Women are twice as likely to be depressed and anxious. And so that’s really interesting. How are things objectives getting better? And I know we’ve taken a couple steps back with a pandemic, but still with the long view, things are getting better over time. And so what is going on there? And what’s interesting is that the indicators of depression, low energy, lack of interest, lack of enjoyment, these are the same indicators of disengagement at work when you’re disengaged, low energy, lack of interest, lack of enjoyment.
Courtney Bigony 00:22:46 And what’s fascinating is that 35% of the workplace is engaged according to Gallup, but 50%, 50%, like it’s actually 52% more than half of the workplace is actually at neutral. So they’re not engaged and they’re not disengaged. They’re like just showing up, they’re doing the minimum requirements, but we quickly leave for a better offer. And this is why we look to the latest positive psychology research, which is a science of thriving that promotes life above neutral in order to shift the majority of the workplace and potentially the world, if disengagement and depression are part two point, uh, parts of the same coin, you know, life and how do we shift people from a place of neutral to engagement. And of course, we look to positive psychology because positive psychology is a science of strengths and thriving and the DSM, the diagnostic statistical manual. This is how we diagnose depression and anxiety and schizophrenia. And this is what most of psychology on in the past, which is, um, helping miserable. People become less miserable as Marty Seligman would say,
Andrew Skotzko 00:23:52 But it’s such a difference, right? Like, because it’s like going, you know, the absence of suffering is not the same as the presence of flirt.
Courtney Bigony 00:23:58 Yeah, exactly. So most of psychology helps you go from negative 10 up to zero. And so the DSM, the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, you know, this is how we diagnose depression and anxiety and schizophrenia and what Martin Seligman did along with many others in the field of positive psychology was that they created the opposite of the DSM, which is via values and action. And so it’s a diagnostic of strengths. So it’s not about disease. It’s about ease and it’s not about disorder. It’s about order in consciousness and order in consciousness is strengths, and it’s using your strengths in service of a larger purpose. And that’s what Marty found. This is how you live the good life you need. It’s a pleasant life, a meaningful life. Um, you not only need to increase positive emotions, but you need to feel engage with your life and engage with what you do and really realign your, your work and your life around your strengths, not only your work, but your parenting, how you learn really all parts of life, uh, around your strengths. And then also the meaningful life, which is serving something larger than yourself. And that’s how people are engaged. And we can bring this back to, to positive technology. People need to be drawn to something more, that’s more impactful than social media. When you have purpose, that’s where you’re going to focus. And that’s what we want. We want people to be engaged in life and focused on purpose and developing high-quality relationships. And we can, we can help build that through technology
Andrew Skotzko 00:25:23 Was hoping you could walk me through an example or two of where viewing things at approaching, approaching a product feature or overall product design from a, from a positive product lens shifted what was happening. So could you, can you talk to me a little bit about, you know, here’s what we were gonna do, and then we looked at it from this way. Here’s what we saw and here’s what changed.
Courtney Bigony 00:25:44 Yeah, it’s a great question. And I think examples are really important because this is what people want. What are really concrete examples of positive product design and positive technology. Um, so I’ll bring it back to 15 five workplace software constructs that are really important for the workplace that are shown to increase performance, um, psychological safety. So psychological safety, the belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk, taking a foundational construct, uh, for high-performing teams. Um, Amy Edmondson is as a key academic behind that,
Andrew Skotzko 00:26:13 Her episode, number nine, we had her on the show. She’s amazing.
Courtney Bigony 00:26:16 Amazing. Yes, she’s amazing. Um, so number one, we want to measure that. And number two, we want to develop product features to actually increase site safety and organization. So imagine this imagine if workplace software measurably increased psychological safety and organizations, it’d be amazing. Um, and so this is what positive product design does. Positive products looks to the latest science. There’s so much science that hasn’t been leveraged yet that people aren’t just looking at. So the key here is to find something that’s evidence-based and actionable, what’s grounded in science and what science can you actually create from and turn into a product feature. And so this is a really hard question, Adam Grant, who is one of my professors at Penn, he asked this question too, to a class of, you know, 50 master’s students. How do you increase safety in organizations? And the room was quiet.
Courtney Bigony 00:27:04 It’s, it’s a really, it’s a really hard question. And so there are a couple of ways you can do it. And, and this is our starting point. The first way is role clarity and clarity of expectations. And this is a foundational need and organizations like only 50% of people know what’s expected of them at work. But when you have role clarity and clarity of expectations, people feel safer to speak up. And I eventually want to teach classes on how, um, all organizations can create psychological safety through their technology. So we’re starting to see this at apple, like asking permission to gather data. This is just clear expectations and giving people agency and personal choice. And that’s a way to, to increase psych safety through tech at large. Um, and so what we did there, and, and, you know, two years ago, I think that if you ask that question at our organization, a lot of people would say, I don’t know how to increase like safety.
Courtney Bigony 00:27:50 And now it’s just a thing, like role clarity as a company we’re like super doubled down on role clarity. Cause like we know how important it is and we know this is what matters. So it’s like a really big thing at 15 five and now we’re focused there. And so we’re building technology to increase role clarity in organizations. And we’re looking at other other ways to, to increase psych safety. Again, I mentioned the feed forward interview, which is looking at wins, um, and what led to wins that helps increase safety and or high call it quality relationships, and connections helps to increase psych safety at org. So that’s something that, that people didn’t really focus on before and now they do. And again, we’re focusing on what matters.
Andrew Skotzko 00:28:26 Yeah, no, this makes perfect sense. And I think for the listener, it’s you probably see why we’re having this conversation. Now. I remember when I four or five years ago, I read flourish Seligman’s latest book and it was like, one of those mind exploded. I was just like, oh my God, this is, this is exactly what I’ve been trying to find language for. And he, he had created that. So in front of that, you know, idea of PERMA, um, which I’d love you to just touch on really briefly. So people have that construct for framing this.
Courtney Bigony 00:28:56 Yeah. So PERMA is Martin Seligman’s theory of wellbeing. Um, P stands for positive emotions. So we need to increase positive emotions. This is how you live a really good life, um, E stands for engagement. So this is understanding your strengths, realigning your work around your strengths are transfer relationships. High-quality relationships. M is meaning, do you have meaning and purpose in life and a is accomplishment or achievement? Are you getting things done? Are you contributing? I like to reframe achievement as impact and contribution, but those are the keys to a good life. And what’s interesting is most of our technology right now is mimicking an outdated theory of motivation. So if you rewind, the philosophers were actually the first to ask what it means to live a good life and then philosophy into psychology. And this is a simplified, uh, view of it. But we have Freud who, you know, believe the unconscious determines behavior and he developed psychoanalysis.
Courtney Bigony 00:29:51 And then we have BF Skinner who developed behaviorism and whose behavior is determined by stimulus and response, but through punishment and reward. And a lot of our technology is mimicking that outdated or incomplete method from psychology. So we are, we are actually motivating behavior, especially in social media apps right now, through punishment and reward. So if we can align our technology to the latest science, so then we can hop forward to Maslow and humanistic psychology who were like, hold up. Like people are, are motivated, um, are conscious, you know, and they’re not just motivated unconsciously and they’re not just motivated by stimulus and response or the environment they’re motivated intrinsically from within people want agency and control and freedom and people are motivated to grow into their best selves. So if we can look to the latest research and align our technology to the latest theories from psychology, humanistic, psychology, positive psychology, transpersonal, that honors freedom agency choice control, and that helps people live life above neutral and becoming engaged that I think is how we can build positive technology.
Andrew Skotzko 00:31:00 I mean, I love all the things that you’re saying here, but one of the things that I’ve been wondering about and it’s come up in a bunch of conversations on the show is, you know, the show is called, make things didn’t matter, right? And this idea of meaning mattering, you know, on the one hand, these, this is a totally subjective thing. Everybody has their own things that matter to them. And sometimes they share those, sometimes they don’t, but I’m just curious, based on like what you’ve studied in the research, what is it that makes something matter to people? Obviously
Courtney Bigony 00:31:24 It’s very personal and that’s what I think we want to do. I think we want to take an idiosyncratic approach to work, um, and to life in general and positive product design is about meeting people’s needs. I think when we meet people’s needs, they can really flourish into, into their best self. However, they define that. And I think that we want to, you know, there’s, there’s fame and there’s, um, money’s important, but it’s not everything. And the human potential index, which is the most complete, um, measurement of human potential and complete measure of human needs really helps people focus on what matters. So that measurement is so key and it’s what we want to align all of technology to. So I would start there and, you know, with this past year with the pandemic, the whole world focused on security needs. It’s like if you have health and vitality, if you’re healthy and if you have financial wellbeing and if you practice resilience, like you’re set for this year, a lot of people are struggling with those things. And those are the things that matter right now in this moment in time. And they will always matter. That’s the thing is that this measurement and this method is a method for building forever tech it’s evergreen human potential technology, because these things will always matter. These constructs will always matter. So at 15 five, yes, we build workplace. We build software for HR teams and in the end, in the long run, I really believe we’re building human potential technology.
Andrew Skotzko 00:32:46 I am so excited about all those things. Those are near and dear to my heart. Are you familiar with the tugboat Institute? I don’t know, tugboat. Okay. So this is, uh, this just got on my radar like a month and a half ago. So there is a guy, a fantastic writer named Bo Burlingham, who wrote a bunch of books. One of my favorites of all time is small giants. Um, but he also wrote, uh, the great game of business with Jack stack, which sort of created the entire idea of like open book management and transparency in business, long story short he’s massively impactful, at least on my thinking. And I interviewed him for the show recently. And the reason I bring this up is he’s working on a new book and it’s all about evergreen business. And so I just thought there was like a really interesting, you know, merging of ideas here between, between what you’re just describing of like evergreen tech that truly serves the long range of human needs and flourishing. And as you said, life above neutral, and how do we pair that? Like that’s sort of, to me, a product design methodology and approach or a stance, how do we pair that up with company building designed for that long haul as well? I think there might be something really interesting at that intersection.
Courtney Bigony 00:33:50 There is something very interesting there and a new method for positive technology without a positive business model, won’t be sustainable. So solving the, the business side is really, really important. And at 15 five David Hassell, the CEO, he developed this philosophy that really creates a win-win between employee and business. And he says, stop managing performance directly. And instead prioritize the keys to human potential and performance will naturally result. So he’s creating a new model for positive business by proving from a business perspective that if you prioritize constructs like psych safety, intrinsic motivation, strengths, purpose, meaning if you focus there, then performance is going to naturally result in your organization. So now, because of this new business model and this new business philosophy, we are actually able to prioritize these things from a business standpoint and the results will come naturally. So, so positive product design does work in tandem with this philosophy, this management philosophy called best self management. And it’s a really important dynamic.
Andrew Skotzko 00:34:53 You strike me as somebody who is living the deep engagement that you talked about, which is always so great to see, right, when you meet somebody who’s, who’s truly walking the walk that they, they are talking about. What do you think for you? What are those strengths, values and passions that you’re channeling? Yeah.
Courtney Bigony 00:35:08 Yes. Well, I have done a scientific, um, deep dive into my top strengths. What I am passionate about. Um, I am so passionate about supporting women and helping them really get their needs met and play where we are in a chess game and play this game really efficiently and effectively. Um, so, and science can do that. Science is here to help. So my journey is all about taking a very scientific approach to my potential, um, to, to get me to where I want to be really, I don’t think that people need to take, you know, 10 years or 15 years in order to, um, discover who they are at their best. I think we can do this, uh, more quickly and more strategically, um, in a way that gives people control and places them in there in an ideal environment. So I dropped crafted my ideal role really three years into my career, and that can happen for people.
Courtney Bigony 00:35:58 Um, and so my top strengths are creativity, love of learning curiosity, and that is what I do on a day-to-day basis. I learn. Um, and I read and I build product features out of the latest science, um, to help science spread. And it’s a new role in tech. Like there’s not a lot of roles there. A lot of people don’t have a director of people science. I did just learn that hinge has, uh, uh, a female led science team, which is amazing and they are doing similar work. So I’m so excited to highlight them. Um, but they’re looking at the latest science and actually helping people, um, you know, find the right person and stay with them. They’re building, dating, dating software, that’s backed by the latest science, um, which is amazing. And so, yeah, I’m lucky. And I worked really hard at identifying what only I can do, what only I can do best because everyone has a unique set of strengths and talents and interests, um, that, that make them who they are, um, and a unique purpose. So how can we help people find that, uh, really quickly and intelligently so they can just start to really breathe and, and have energy and light?
Andrew Skotzko 00:37:02 No, I love that. And I agree it’s deeply, deeply important. The thing that I find myself wondering when I hear you say that is, you know, we talked a little bit about like discovering your values and your strengths earlier on the idea of purpose is one of those things that I think is so important. We all deeply crave. I mean, it’s a sort of an intrinsic need. I find that it’s an area where people can really burn a lot of cycles, like can really spin their wheels for a long time. How do people find that what they’re looking for there, but avoid taking forever, taking 10 years. Yeah,
Courtney Bigony 00:37:35 Totally. And taking time is good. I think that’s great. I think this is a journey, you know, and then we need to enjoy the journey. I’m not obsessed about like pure efficiency, but I think that we need the way that I’ve done it is becoming really attuned to what lights me up. Um, Tim Ferriss, he has that a great blog article on like an, a past year review where you intentionally look at all of you, look at your calendar, all of the people, all of the projects, all of the work, things, everything that gave you energy. And I do that every year. We’re building this into our technology because it’s a really strengths-based and energizing approach. So how can you look at that? This is a, a lifetime of self discovery that happens. I really think early on in life, a lot of people don’t know what they want to do.
Courtney Bigony 00:38:15 So I think if you can become really attuned to the things that give you energy, whether it’s reading, I like deep work. Um, I’m like, you know, super introvert hermit. Like I would like to be with my books all day. And of course I collaborate and advise our product teams, um, but really understanding the things that give you energy, the, the work, the people, the time of day, and working to replicate that this is a strengths-based approach to life. So in organizations, it’s really great to focus on the problems and, you know, ask the five why’s, you know, what led to that problem. That’s great. And it’s incomplete. There’s another method called it’s called a feed forward interview, actually. And it’s all about looking at strengths and wins. And then what led to those wins the conditions. So you can replicate that. So in our technology, yes, we are helping people understand their top strengths.
Courtney Bigony 00:39:02 We’re also helping people understand energizing work. We don’t want people to just set, you know, uh, objectives and KPIs goals, which are important, but we want people to set intrinsically motivated goals that are aligned to their interests are, are enjoyable. And that’s how we align technology to the latest science like that is positive product design. It’s understanding where we’re at and understanding the latest science and then closing the gap. So that’s just one example, like a lot of, you know, workplace offers or building okay, ours and goal setting would really important. And what science does that aligned to objectives, our goal setting software, and that aligns to the science of intrinsic motivation. So how can we infuse the science of intrinsic motivation into that workplace software objectives, um, which again is as a method for goal setting, um, company goals, and then also department goals, individual goals, this aligns to purpose. So in our tech, we can help infuse purpose into objectives and key results, which not a lot of companies are doing, but we know the impact and we know how important it is to align your individual purpose, your individual work to the company work and the company mission and vision. So we’re working to bring that to life.
Andrew Skotzko 00:40:09 I’m so excited about this. And I, you know, again, when we first met, I was like, yes, I need to do anything I can to help this future be real. So I’m just thrilled about it. One of the things that I find myself wondering, and we’ll shift gears here in a few minutes, but while we’re on this topic, you know, we, you talked a minute ago about the idea of positive business and how business models, pow, positive product design really needs a supportive business and environment, business model worldview for it to happen. And I was curious to hear you talk a little bit more about that because one of the things that struck me was like, man, this is something a deeply needed a hundred percent agreed on that. And I also find myself thinking about how do we deal with the structural challenges to this in many, for example, social software, right? Which is driven primarily by engagement driven ad based models. Facebook is a great example. You know, they have this real structural problem. If they want to do this, how do we, how do we deal with that? What’s your thinking there? And I
Courtney Bigony 00:41:04 Don’t know if I have all the answers, but I think that we need to give people choice. So, you know, Facebook has an ad driven model and a lot of social platforms, two 15, five, and a lot of workplace technologies. Don’t, you know, subscription-based models are really important. Sure. If Facebook could provide the option for paid and not paid, I think that would, that would do a lot. Um, a lot of people want free, um, and are okay with it. And now with, you know, the social dilemma, the cat’s out of the bag, that the problem is really at a global level. People are aware of it, which is really important. And I just go back to choice and agency to give people options because a lot of people might want to stay on, um, you know, the free version with ads. Um, and then I think people would be willing to pay for a separate version. Um, so if they could do both, I think that’d be a great step.
Andrew Skotzko 00:41:50 Yeah, no, that’s a great idea. I think in, as you said, I mean, this is all early days for this new model, but I just think it’s interesting to start to think about that. Now, if we can see that there’s a structural impediment to doing this thing that we intend to do, you know, let’s start at least start the conversation about how do we do this. And I think there’s definitely going to need, you know, business model innovation tends to happen slower than product innovation. So I think it’s worth just getting that ball rolling as soon as we can.
Courtney Bigony 00:42:14 Yeah. And I think that people are willing to, and we’d have to test this, but I think people are willing to pay premium for positive technology that actually works. You know, if technically there’s a lot of tech out there that that’s leaning in the, in the positive way, but it has to be enjoyable. And it has to be something that people are drawn to. So that’s something that we’re, we’re trying to work on at 15 five, I’m
Andrew Skotzko 00:42:35 Suddenly reminded of a near Al’s work with hooked and indestructible. Right. It’s like, well, what if we built things that weren’t just addictive, but were actually good for you? You know, like a positive, I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m gonna say a positive addiction, but positively engaging. Yeah.
Courtney Bigony 00:42:49 And that’s why part of, one of the key tenants of positive product design is to maximize quality of screen, time, not quantity. Um, so part of 15 five, we have like this amazing check-in feature and it’s all about strengthened relationships and you use technology in order to make the one-on-one time really effective too. So technology serves the individual, the employee and the manager. So when they’re one-on-one, whether it’s on zoom or not, that conversation time is really effective. So that’s a different way of looking. We’re not trying to solve all the problems through the technology itself. Um, but we’re using technology to help leading science spread, to help people focus on things that matter. And then to actually help them get off the tech and hinge. Again, I’m like really obsessed with hinge right now, you know, female led science team love it. And there’s Logan is, is to like delete the app. Like we want you to find the right person so you can delete the app. Like how awesome is
Andrew Skotzko 00:43:39 That? I think if more, as more companies and teams start to think that way, it’s going to really start to shift things. So I want to start to shift gears here and close out the conversation with some rapid fire questions. They’re short questions, your answers don’t have to be. I often find that these lead to interesting stories and things like that. So take it wherever you want to take it. So the first one that I always love to ask people is what thing do you know best?
Courtney Bigony 00:44:01 I score very high on interpersonal intelligence, which is self-awareness. So I think I know myself best.
Andrew Skotzko 00:44:09 That is a very good answer. And I think one that many people would wish they could give that’s terrific for people who don’t score that high on it. How can people improve that?
Courtney Bigony 00:44:18 Yes, it’s a practice. Um, and it’s something that can, you know, develop and it’s something that I’ve practiced, um, deeply. So self-awareness, this is again a construct part of human potential that we want to increase through software. So feeling and granular feeling identification. So the ability to identify your emotions or the ability to, um, distinguish between two similar emotions is a practice. And it’s so critical to, to self-compassion to nonviolent communication. It’s really the first step in a lot of these conscious practices. And just imagine if you know, our leaders and our tech leaders were more self-aware and could practice these things. And we’re actually trying to build that w we are building this into 15 five, we have a request feedback feature that helps people learn nonviolent communication. So we can actually help people practice compassionate communication through technology. The self-awareness question, I would I’d I’d really come back to feeling identification cause it’s such an important practice.
Andrew Skotzko 00:45:10 Yeah. And actually, I just want to suggest a resource that I found personally really, really helpful. Last year, I was thinking a lot about this exact question of, you know, understanding my self better, my emotions better. And there’s a book that I found super useful. I don’t know if you’re familiar with called permission to feel. Yeah. And they’re they’re um, are you familiar with like the ruler model?
Courtney Bigony 00:45:30 I don’t know. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m eager to the gist
Andrew Skotzko 00:45:33 Of it is um, oh man. See if I can do this on the, off the cuff, uh, ruler was a, it’s an acronym stands for recognize, understand label express. And I want to say regulate is the last one and it’s sort of this five step process that they teach. I think they originally started teaching this to kids in school, which is awesome, like, you know, at kindergarten level, but it’s something that I think we all can benefit from is if you can understand those nuances of emotion and what’s the distinction between being morose and being sad, for example, or being frustrated and angry or joyful and content or whatever. Um, so I just wanted to suggest that as a resource that I found super, super useful, and in particular, I’m going to also give a shout out to this app that they created. There we go. It’s on my phone called mood meter, which helps you on the fly. Uh, identify what am I actually feeling right now? So I just wanted to throw that out there as a resource that people can check out. Yeah. I
Courtney Bigony 00:46:24 Love that. And there’s this also a, there’s this amazing resource from the school of transformation, if you just Google them. Um, they have a feelings chart that I use on a daily basis. Oh, cool. And on the left side are all negative feelings and on the right side are all positive feelings has, it’s really important to identify positive emotions as well. And on the left side, the negative feelings, that’s just an indicator of a need not being met when your knees, when our needs aren’t met, we experienced negative emotions. And when our needs are met, we experience positive emotions. It’s really important
Andrew Skotzko 00:46:53 Thing that helped me start to do this last year. Uh, and I’ll just throw this out there in case it helps somebody else was to understand that there are no bad emotions. There’s just information. Yeah. Right. They’re all, they’re all just signals. And if I could say, oh, like, I’m angry. Why, why do I, why do I feel angry? Like what, what need isn’t met? What boundaries have been violated? What, you know, whatever. I found that to be very useful reframe, basically
Courtney Bigony 00:47:15 Seligman would agree. He says this, that sadness and anger, these are really, really important emotions. It’s just that they become destructive when they’re chronic. Um, so if we can use them, um, as a signal to, to change and to get our needs met and to act and to, um, have, you know, uh, thinking patterns that help us act in a positive way, um, and give us permission and give us agency and control over what we’re thinking. Yeah. Really
Andrew Skotzko 00:47:38 Important. Yeah. And it also reminds me of a book. Um, I have a feeling you and I are going to nerd out about books, but two, two other books that came to mind, uh, listening to you, talk to us now. And I’m curious if, if these are ones that you’ve encountered as well, is, um, the upside of your dark side and, um, designing your life from the Stanford folks.
Courtney Bigony 00:47:56 Yes. I haven’t read the first one, the second one obsessed with, I saw, um, both of them speak, uh, in San Francisco and we, I have used designing your life. I recommend it to so many people, especially since a lot of my work is about work and helping people become their best selves in the workplace. Um, and they take a design thinking approach and they’re it’s, I just can’t recommend that book enough. And we are building that into technology. We’re going to help that, that book spread.
Andrew Skotzko 00:48:21 Great. Yeah. The, when you were talking earlier about, you know, pay attention to what lights you up, I was like, oh, that reminds me of that exercise in designing your life where they, I can’t remember what they call it in there, but it’s that using that as your compass basically like, oh, I really like it when I have conversations like this or I research. Right. You know, whatever. Exactly. Very cool. Next question. What is a quote or saying a phrase that’s important to you that you return to often? And what about
Courtney Bigony 00:48:43 I did a, a class with Bernay brown in 2012 and it was really transformative to me. And she actually has you create your own coats and something, something that you live by. And yeah, my top two personal values are integrity and excellence. And my value that I live by is that integrity always wins. Um, and, and I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to create positive product design because every step of the way has to be high integrity with this. And so that’s my quote. I
Andrew Skotzko 00:49:13 Like it. When you say integrity, what does that mean to you? Tegrity
Courtney Bigony 00:49:17 It’s a big word. I, I, I think integrity is about, um, sticking to your word. It’s about, um having a really strong moral compass. And it’s about making, making really good decisions, you know, work in life is it’s just a series of decisions. Um, and if we can, if the small decisions are a really high integrity and of excellence, I think we’re going to get to where we want to go.
Andrew Skotzko 00:49:39 Yeah. The little things are the big things, well respect. So I’m curious, you know, everybody I’ve talked to has had someone in their life who really shaped their trajectory. And that might be like since they were five, that might be in the last couple of years. Um, but I’m curious who, who, somebody like that for you and what did, what did you learn from them?
Courtney Bigony 00:49:57 I have the most amazing career coach. I am not going to say her name to protect your anonymity, but I have just a jet pack of females behind me. I think that we are shifting into a new paradigm that that’s female led and all of these constructs that we’re talking about, like psych safety, you know, high quality relationships. Self-awareness, these are, these are more feminine feeling, words and constructs that are really being prioritized in the workplace, um, and in the, in the world. And so I do see the shift into the feminine and she has been at my back, um, this, this amazing person. And she’s what I love about her is there’s zero bullshit. Like she’s the most the, the sharpest straight shooter I’ve ever met. And, and that goes with integrity just like my days are really good if I set boundaries that get my needs met and also keep the other person whole. So when I can do that in practice that muscle, like, that’s what I consider a good day. Um, and I have a lot of those days and, and it’s because of her. I literally spend most of my coaching sessions working with her, focused on how to communicate in a compassionate way, um, to get my needs met and then also to keep the other person whole. And that’s how that’s how positive product design has been burst.
Andrew Skotzko 00:51:13 That’s awesome. You know, it’s funny, the, the topic of boundaries has come up a lot lately in conversations. How do you, how do you do that? Like personally, how do you approach setting boundaries in a healthy, mutually constructive way?
Courtney Bigony 00:51:23 Yeah, Bernay brown. She, I feel like she brought boundaries to light, you know, through her book, the gifts of imperfection. If I had to gift any book, it would be that book. Um, if I had to write a book for women on how to succeed in the workplace, I wouldn’t need to write a book. All I would have is a cover that says boundaries. And so I practiced nonviolent communication a lot. It is a practice. I did six years of therapy to practice self-compassion with myself and then with others. And it’s a formula it’s, it’s, you know, naming your need and naming your feeling or first identifying your feeling and then your need. And what’s interesting is that so much of this is about relational energy. So yes, it’s about what you say, which is where the nonviolent communication comes in and those steps, but it’s really about how you say it.
Courtney Bigony 00:52:08 And this is true in leadership and high performance as well. What you say is really important, but how you say it, the relational energy and how you show up, that’s, what’s really, really critical. Um, and if you can have certain practices, like assuming positive intent, practicing nonviolent communication with zero expectations, I practice nonviolent communication and set boundaries because it’s something that I want to flex. It’s a muscle that I want to flex. I don’t have any expectations on the other side. I just know that this is a really important practice for me, that I want to leverage and, and who knows what’s going to happen. Um, but it’s, it’s really, self-serving actually, self-serving in order to serve the relationship,
Andrew Skotzko 00:52:46 Right? You have to take care of your needs first, and then you can also be available to help other people. That’s fantastic. Thanks for modeling that. What is a question you would have the listeners start asking themselves on a regular basis? Right? I find that our lives are shaped by the questions we ask implicitly or explicitly. So I’m curious if there’s a question you would tee up for people.
Courtney Bigony 00:53:05 Yes. Questions are so important. They open the conversation. I think we are at an energy deficit right now. I think people are really burned out at work. Even high-performing organizations, people are burned out and I think people are burned out in the world at large. So I would ask what gives you energy and to really zoom in and, and do a deep dive into that and understand the conditions, the people, what you’re doing. Cause life is about energy. I’d rather live a short life with a lot of energy than a really long life, you know, really depleted all the time. So for me, the focus is, is energy and diving deep and replicating that. How can you do more of that in life? And how can you make that expand?
Andrew Skotzko 00:53:46 That is fantastic. Here’s a question it’s a bit random. What is a small change you’ve made in recent memory? And that could be a week. It could be a year, whatever, but what’s a small change that you’ve made that you think has had an outsized impact, positive impact for you. Yeah,
Courtney Bigony 00:54:00 I’ll keep it simple. I got a chilly pad, which I’ve heard about for a long time and it says, it’s amazing. It’s that cooling pad. I’m super sensitive. I’m super sensitive to light and sound and heat and everything and sleep is such a, you know, a foundational need. Um, and I think it’s amazing and I tend to sleep really warm. So it’s incredible. And if my, if my sleep is good and if my, my eating is good, then you know, everything else falls into place
Andrew Skotzko 00:54:27 A hundred percent. I’m so glad you said that because I, uh, I also have, I had a ton of sleep issues and I only read, like I had like a year and a half of insomnia and I just want to say it for anybody who’s listening. And it has like struggled with insomnia, a get the chilly pad thing. If you look into this read Matthew Walker, but, um, specifically just, I want to say this, cause it was so helpful. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. CVTI shockingly effective, involves no drugs or medicine or anything like that. And it, it cured my insomnia and it’s incredible. So for anyone who’s struggling with that, please do yourself a favor and beat a path to the nearest facilitator you can find for that. That’s
Courtney Bigony 00:55:04 Amazing. I did not know about that. And that’s incredible. Aaron Beck. He actually has recently released. He’s a, the creator CBT, um, he’s releasing a more whole person approach to it and pulling from Scott, Barry Kaufman, his work. Um, yeah, so that’s, that’s cool.
Andrew Skotzko 00:55:18 Yeah, that CBT, I, I, it was developed, I think at Harvard over a pretty long period of time, but it’s become, I think, I mean, they’ve studied the heck out of this thing now. And I think every, every meta analysis out there has found it to be like so much more effective than any sleeping pill or anything that it’s, it’s considered the frontline treatment now for any, any form of insomnia. So highly recommended the book. What is the book? Um, really good book that people can check out called what my sleep doctor gave me, it’s called say goodnight to insomnia. Um, and it’s basically CBT. I put it into a book, but it’s also so start there if you will need that. And then if you, if you can find a facilitator, cause there’s not that many out there, unfortunately, um, highly recommend doing I did it through a UCLA.
Andrew Skotzko 00:56:01 Well, I guess my last question here, you know, I love to give people handles on, on concepts to really put them into action. So we’ve talked about it. We covered a lot of ground in this conversation, which is fantastic. And I’m so excited for you to bring this into the world and for people to get their hands on it. But just as a starting point for people, if people could make, I’m going to do that really annoying thing, where if you could just one change, what would be the highest leverage change they could make to affect these ideas and put them into play.
Courtney Bigony 00:56:31 I am going to go back to a very true positive psychology concept, which is gratitude, um, which, and when I say it, it sounds cheesy and it sounds, you know, what’s interesting is this is a practice and I’ve, you know, I was a heavy smoker for like eight years. I’ve quit smoking. Um, and I thank you. I still haven’t nailed down the, the gratitude practice, but it’s so important. And based off of the psychology research, people who, who have a strong gratitude practice are less depressed, six months later than those who don’t. Um, especially since women are more likely to be, to be depressed than men. I think that gratitude is the most important practice. One of the most important practices that you can create and in order to really create a habit here, um, practices have to be enjoyable. Um, so however you practice gratitude, whether that’s, you know, through photos or video, um, or writing things down, writing three good things every day and expanding out into what went well is so important.
Andrew Skotzko 00:57:30 Yeah. I love that. I think that’s such a wonderful suggestion. So Courtney, first of all, thank you for what you’re doing for the work you’re doing. I just mad respect for what you’re up to. I love it. And I’m a huge fan. Count me on your team in any way. I can be helpful to you. What would you like to leave the listener with?
Courtney Bigony 00:57:46 I want to leave the listener with, um, the latest theory that Marty Seligman is working on, which is agency progress. It’s progress through human agency. And I want people to leave feeling empowered that they have control and that there are people in tech who want them to have agency and control. And agency is the key to human progress and we need people to feel it
Andrew Skotzko 00:58:12 Awesome. Where can people follow your work and connect with you more if they want to take some action after this conversation? Yep.
Courtney Bigony 00:58:19 Hop onto PositiveProductDesign.com. You can follow me on Twitter at Courtney. Beginni follow me on LinkedIn, um, and sign up because we are going to be releasing the human potential index and the guide by the end of the year. All
Andrew Skotzko 00:58:32 Right. Very exciting. Cannot wait to see it. So Courtney, thanks again for what you’re doing and thanks so much for being here. Real pleasure.
Courtney Bigony 00:58:41 Thanks for having me.