BeanTalk: Hans Donckers & Ross Thornley

Co-founder Beanmachine & CEO AQai

Developing your AQ to be better prepared for the future

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In the podcast, Bean Greet Verhaest, discusses the concept of Adaptability Quotient (AQ) with guests Ross Thornley, the CEO of Aqai, and Hans Donckers, co-founder of Beanmachine and JiGSO.

AQ, as they define it, is the ability to determine what’s relevant, to forget obsolete knowledge, to overcome challenges, and to adjust to change in real time. Thornley, along with his team members at Aqai, has developed a model that focuses on improving AQ, using it as a tool to measure how well individuals and organizations can adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.

During the discussion, Thornley reveals that they have developed an adaptability assessment, which he believes fills a gap in the market. The motivation behind this development came from the realization that there was no tool to assess how well individuals and organizations respond to challenges or adapt to change. “The last few years we’ve been going very deep into understanding the neuroscience and the analysis of adaptability,” he said.

The adaptability model, ACE, stands for Ability, Character, and Environment. Thornley further explains each element in the model. Ability is about understanding how and to what degree an individual adapts, while character tries to answer who adapts and why. The environment looks at when and to what degree does somebody adapt. Thornley believes that adaptability varies depending on the context, and this model takes into consideration all these factors to measure adaptability effectively.

In the conversation, Hans Donckers clarifies that adaptability is not a buzzword, but rather an age-old concept that has been overlooked. He points out that adaptability is not about overcoming a one-off challenge, but rather an ongoing process of developing resilience and the ability to cope with constant change. Donckers also adds that the AQ model has a solid framework, and it is grounded in scientific evidence.

When asked about the future implications of the AQ assessment tool, Thornley explains that their mission is to help people through the journey of change in a positive way. “There’s so much change going on, we want to give everyone the chance to improve their adaptability and have a brighter future,” he says.

On the topic of reskilling and upskilling, Donckers criticizes the practice of firing and hiring, suggesting that organizations should invest in training their existing workforce to become more adaptable. Thornley supports this view and adds that they want to highlight the potential in individuals to adapt to new roles, thus reducing the need for redundancy.

Moreover, Thornley mentions that their adaptability tool also provides interventions. They have developed worksheets, exercises, and tools that can help individuals improve their AQ. He envisions leveraging technology to provide accessible coaching for all, which would help individuals navigate transitions in their lives.

However, Donckers warns against treating adaptability as a technical challenge that can be solved with instructions and half-day workshops. He advocates for a multi-dimensional approach, involving feedback, self-reflection, and patience. He also emphasizes the importance of considering the environmental context in which individuals operate.

Towards the end, Thornley describes their assessment tool as a journey. They began with self-assessments, but are exploring ways to integrate other data sources to better understand and improve adaptability. Donckers views the tool as a starting point to understand how to improve adaptability but emphasizes that the real work begins after the assessment.

In conclusion, the podcast sheds light on the importance of adaptability in today’s rapidly changing world. The AQ model developed by Aqai not only provides a way to measure adaptability but also offers tools and strategies to enhance it. It emphasizes a proactive approach to change, focusing on personal development and resilience.

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