A Dedicated Social Learning Platform For Ethical Change Makers
Skip to the problem we’re solving
Keep scrolling to learn more about the journey we’ve been on.
We’ve been running a services business at the intersection of privacy, trust and ethics.
We’ve learned a lot. Our focus has now shifted to make this platform happen.
The problem we first identified
Trust disproportionately impacts bottom line business outcomes. Yet trust is at an all time low. Ethics is 3x more important than competence when it comes to trust. Yet organisations under invest in ethics. Organisations are more reliant than ever before on customer data. Yet consumers are more concerned than ever about how their data is being used. This has resulted in a data trust gap.
From where we stood a few years back, none of this added up. The data certainly wasn’t as compelling as it is today, but we still asked why organisations weren’t doing a better job at being trustworthy? Why weren’t they acting on the growing body of evidence suggesting that doing right was also good for business.
We started small
At the time we knew we couldn’t answer all of these questions. We were two people (Nathan and Bianca) self funding a new experiment. But we did know based on our previous work that we could plug a gap in the market. We could offer organisations a new toolkit to help them design trustworthy services. In this we were pretty confident.
We figured that starting on this journey would lead to progress. This progress would compound. Over time we might contribute to a movement with incredible impact. We might be part of designing a new marketplace where trustworthy services became not just normal, but basic expectations.
We progressed quickly
Our team grew. We pushed the boundaries. Greater Than X became recognised as a leading research, design and strategic advisory services firm.
Our most recent financial year – even with the fear, uncertainty and indecision that we’ve all experienced through the SARS-COV-2 or ‘COVID-19’ pandemic – saw >300% YoY growth.
We arguably did our best work in this period too. We directly influenced data sharing ecosystems like the Consumer Data Right in Australia and Open Banking in the UK. Our Data Trust by Design principles, patterns, consumer outcome metrics and research practices have become part of the CX Guidelines in both jurisdictions.
Organisations We Worked With
We took our data ethics work to a whole new level, supporting organisations in moving beyond ‘feel good’ statements. We helped them design and operationalise Data Ethics Frameworks. This is hard and complex, but we’re excited about what we’ve already achieved.
We also started making some real noise with our Better Disclosure Toolkit. This has positively contributed to the Legal Design and Contract Simplification fields. It offers a practical way for organisations to do something they’ve failed at for so many years. Some regulators even argue that standard disclosure practices are enablers of poor conduct.
But it hasn’t been all fine and dandy. Services businesses are tough. They face a variety of challenges that aren’t easy to overcome. We often encountered two that limited our ability to do really great work:
- Some organisations we worked with very quickly decided they knew enough and could go at it alone. This might well be explained by the Dunning Kruger Effect. Our work would then get cut short, before any new capabilities could be embedded into the way people work on a daily basis.
- Other organisations would become too reliant on our services. They wanted us in the office (prior to COVID of course), leading the work streams and didn’t have the time or willingness to do the hard work required to embed new ways of learning, thinking and doing.
We’ve been aware of these limitations for a long time. They’re not really unique. Most services businesses struggle with similar challenges. As a result, our plan for the last 24 months was to treat the services business as a learning engine. We hypothesised this would give us unique and unrefined access to the market. From this we could accelerate our learning velocity and more confidently implement a scalable proposition with the potential to achieve the impact we’re intent on having.
Now is the time for us to make that move.
What's the problem we're trying to solve now?
The short version is, we’re making it easier than ever before for people to learn how to design products and services – regardless of their role title or functional skills – that positively contribute to society.
Want the longer version? Then keep scrolling.
Go to info about the platform
Most people we interact with care about others and the world around them. They want to do ‘good’. Getting more specific, individuals and teams within an organisation want to use their work as a force for good.
They’re motivated to design products and services that enhance wellbeing and contribute to progress they can look back on and be proud of.
These very same people have a lot of influence. They’re what’s referred to as choice architects.
Choice architecture favours organisations. Facebook optimising for advertising revenues, a supermarket placing candy at the eye level of kids during the checkout process or an online service using different psychological tactics to encourage a purchasing decision. This is all choice architecture.
These choices favour the organisation designing them.
You may have experienced this yourself. Often decisions that favour the outcomes an organisation is optimising for have the potential to negatively impact the person making the choice. The incentives structures of modern digital society make it hard to do anything different.
Misconduct in Australian Financial Services – highlighted by the Hayne Royal Commission – is a powerful example of this.
Doing good in this context – explicitly designing product and service choices that enhance wellbeing determinants for instance – is harder than it should be. It’s even harder if you feel like you’re going at it alone. It’s harder yet if you don’t feel like you’re equipped with the necessary models, methods and experience to design for better outcomes consistently.
This is a problem. It should be easier to do better. We should be incentivising the design of better choice architectures. We should be encouraging products and services that optimise for individual, societal and ecologically sustainable outcomes. We should make it easier for the people wanting to do this to connect, support one another and design for change together.
Why is all this so hard today? That’s the problem this community can be part of solving 🙂
How is Greater Than Learning solving this problem?
Think about it. How do you learn today? You read. You do a course. You pay for a consulting firm. You attend workshops and conferences. You hack solutions yourself and learn by doing. If you’re motivated, you give anything a good crack.
But for most people and organisations, there’s a huge gap between what they say and what they do. Especially when it relates to values and acting on them.
Greater Than Learning aims to make it easier, faster and cheaper for individuals, teams and organisations to do the ethical actions they say they will.
Initial Content Partners
Although it feels like we’re going at this alone, don’t get it twisted. We have support. We’re already working with thought and action leaders in their respective fields to bring you new and unique micro-learning content. Keep your eyes peeled for updates.
Desired Ecosystem Partners
There are individuals, groups and organisations all around the world doing stuff that’s inspired us daily. There are a few that we’d absolutely love to work with.
This is the shortest possible version of our aspirational list. It’s a work in progress.
Who have we missed? Who do you know that we should connect with?
Let us know via twitter with the hashtag #MakingBetterTogether
We all make trade offs. You can see ours.
As part of our approach to operationalising ethics, we make decisions, document those decisions and attempt to verify that those decisions are the most socially preferable in the eyes of our community members and key stakeholders.