A guest article by Kunal Pancholi, Co-Founder of Bigyellowfish Technologies – PortXL Rotterdam 2019 Alumni

Bigyellowfish – An employee experience platform for well-being, collaboration & microlearning

Maritime industry is one of the oldest industries, which maintains and supports the global supply chain right from daily commodities, to energy, to consumer goods etc. There is a strong tradition that comes with this industry and it is amazing to see how the tradition is still maintained and honoured even today. We must understand that tradition and culture is a function of humans and not machines.

The human element

Maritime industry is human intensive and will remain so for many more years to come. Having said that, the industry has been facing an inherent risk due to the extensive human interface. Humans are meant to make mistakes and it is an accepted fact. The question is the ramification of such errors, which are huge when it comes to the maritime space. Ex: Exxon valdez, Torrey Canyon, Deep water Horizon, to name a few. The industry over the years has understood the problem and has been doing its part in trying to address these issues. Ex: Introduction of behaviour-based safety, the crew resource management concepts, etc.

However, in the last decade or so there has been a shift in the demography of people employed in the maritime industry. Close to 70% of the work force is in the age group of 19 – 35 years. This demographic shift will continue to lean towards a more younger work force in the coming years. While the traditional methodologies and practices are important, it is pivotal for the industry to adapt and focus on the new age relevance, digital transformation and more importantly the technological needs that arise due to the shift in demography from a human element perspective.

Kunal Pancholi presenting his solution in front of employees from the Port of Rotterdam at the Roadshow event during PortXL’s 2019 Rotterdam program

A holistic approach

Dealing with human element is a complex process as it has a direct/indirect correlation to the way people think and do things. There cannot be a blanket approach to this challenge rather a more holistic approach. This is where Bigyellowfish carves a niche. We approach the human element from a holistic & psychological perspective, where we use 3 pillars called the care, share and learn. The approach is to address the psychological well-being of a person on a regular basis, enable the person to share so that there is ability to voice out and at the same time collaborate, upskill by means of providing micro-learning, which are easy to remember and recall. Essentially, the purpose is to drive minute but measurable behavioural changes. All these are on a simple gamified/game based digital platform with a strong data backed approach. Organizations can set and derive key metrics from the data and make key inferences/decisions based on the data. The employees through their voice see gratification in the way the organization makes changes and adapts to their need. The key metric here is that the process is continuous and evolving, rather than static. Essentially, it helps achieve measurable behavioural changes that positively impact organizational goals.

Ampelmann CEO Jan van der Tempel (left) signing a contract with Bigyellowfish at PortXL Rotterdam Shakedown 2019

When we were first selected at PortXL (2019 batch), we were in between building our prototype and since then we have bootstrapped out way into 5 pilots with our prototype. Come May 2020, and we have brought to market our final product on iOS & Android mobile devices. With the situation rapidly changing due to the ongoing crisis, we also extended a ‘lite’ version of our wellbeing module on the app as a goodwill gesture to maritime companies, for their crew / employee wellbeing support. Going forward we see that companies across the globe will take strong & effective steps to measure, support and enhance their employee experience quotient.

Kunal Pancholi presenting at PortXL Rotterdam Shakedown 2019

Working with PortXL

Working and interacting with the PortXL team from their office, alongside several other start-ups, was both a great experience and a learning curve. Some of the management sessions provided were quite beneficial and self-reflective, giving us an insight into the workings of our own start-up. The corporate roadshows organised were well-managed. They were purpose-driven to enable start-ups to pitch their ideas well to potential clients.

PortXL, in addition, were open to any further support required by the start-ups. We were recommended to ask for any aid that could be fulfilled by them without hesitation, including any special introductions, provided the PortXL’s team has the necessary connections.