Canadian Business: Plasticity Named “Innovators of the Year”

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How Plasticity is hacking happiness to help companies work harder

Can monitoring your employees’ mood boost workplace productivity—and the bottom line? Plasticity Labs thinks so…

Photo Credits: From left: Plasticity Labs founders Jim Moss, Lance Mohring and Jennifer Moss. (Portrait by Raina + Wilson; Wardrobe styling by Nadia Pizzimenti/JudyInc.com; Makeup and hair by Shawna Lee/JudyInc.com; Prop styling by Caroline Pandeli/Plutino Group)

Jim Moss is an upbeat guy, but right now he looks a titch troubled by the pie charts and bar graphs he’s peering at. The pages upon pages of bright graphics represent the results of a survey conducted by Moss’s company, Plasticity Labs, to tap the collective mood of the Canadian Business editorial team. His Waterloo, Ont., startup aims to measure—and boost—workplace happiness. On its scale of one to seven, we averaged 4.8: A score Moss says is typical of employees in the troubled manufacturing industry. “Your averages are definitely lower than we usually see,” he says, assuming the sort of offhandedly neutral tone doctors use to deliver unpleasant biopsy results.

Knowledge-based offices like ours typically start with a baseline score of low to mid-fives, Moss says. And they rarely have employees assigning scores as low as two—which happened with us. A different chart shows that many of my co-workers expect to feel even less satisfied six months down the road. “You’ve got people forecasting that things are looking even worse in the future,” he says, crinkling his brow.

Then Moss rallies. Gesturing at the data, he starts talking about “dialing up optimism” and “doing some work on resilience.” His pep talk sounds one part mad scientist—Frankenstein grafting a funny bone onto his melancholy monster—and two parts utopian dream. “The good news is that people are typically terrible at guessing what their future will be like,” Moss says. “And the bad news is that people often wear their expectations: If they feel that things ahead look bad, they’re going to seem grumpy at the office. But there’s an opportunity here to get people thinking, If I think things are going to get worse, what can I do now to change that?”

Changing how people feel about their work is the point of Plasticity Labs, which Moss founded two years ago with his wife, Jennifer, the company’s chief marketing officer, and chief technical officer Lance Mohring. With the help of a digital platform that monitors employees’ moods each day—at its most basic, it simply asks workers to rank their attitude from one to 100… Read the full article on Canadian Bunsiness Magazine here

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