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HCI Webinar: Embracing Failure and Creating Psychological Safety, with Joe Schaeppi

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talked with Joe Schaeppi about embracing failure and creating psychological safety. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!


Watch the episode here:


Revolutionizing Brand-Audience Connect With AI-Powered Play


Joe, the CEO and founder of Solsten, discussed his mission to revolutionize the way brands and audiences connect through AI-powered human-centric experiences. He highlighted his background in clinical psychology and how it influenced his work in UX design. Joe shared his focus on using video games for cognitive assessment, which he believes could have a significant impact on the gaming industry and mental health diagnostics. He also emphasized the potential of play to evolve human psychology. Jonathan noted the use of gamification in education and asked Joe to elaborate on how his approach differs from gamification.


Canoeing, Games, and Relationship Dynamics


Joe shared his experience from his work in adventure-based therapy using canoeing as a metaphor for communication and relationship dynamics. He highlighted the significance of non-verbal communication and the importance of understanding each other's perspectives to resolve conflicts. He also discussed his work in gamification, using games to measure psychological traits and predict individual resilience. Joe emphasized the need for games to be fun and engaging, and his company's focus on ensuring that these games positively impact users.


Embracing Failure and Psychological Safety


Jonathan and Joe discussed the importance of embracing failure and creating psychological safety. Joe highlighted that these two concepts are interconnected, with the ability to fail being dependent on the presence of psychological safety. He noted that high levels of emotional resilience are more likely to create such environments. However, he also pointed out a common misconception, where those who seek psychological safety are often the least safe. He suggested that the most psychologically stable individuals are often those who have gone through rigorous testing, such as pilots. The conclusion was that failure is only a problem if the person doesn't learn from it.


Emotional Resilience and Mindset Prioritized


Joe discussed the importance of emotional resilience, empathy, and compassion in the workplace, highlighting the company's emphasis on psychological assessments. He emphasized the need for a culture of learning from failures, rather than fear of failure, to foster growth and understanding among team members from diverse backgrounds. Joe also pointed out the importance of having a mastery-based mindset instead of a fixed mindset for a psychologically safe environment.


Reframing Failure: A Key to Organizational Growth


Joe and Jonathan discussed the importance of perceiving failures as opportunities for learning and growth within a company. They lamented that many people, especially those earlier in their careers, struggle with this mindset and instead strive for perfection. They noted that companies often have difficulty implementing this principle effectively, particularly in terms of closing the loop and disseminating learnings from failures to others in the organization. Joe emphasized the need to make failure easy and shared that Solsten, a company he works with, promotes this principle.


Nurturing Team Culture: Psychological Resilience and Assessments


Joe discussed the importance of creating a nurturing team environment in organizations, emphasizing the role of values and principles. He suggested that team leaders should identify peak and negative experiences, creating values around them to guide team growth. He also stressed on the significance of psychological resilience in individuals and the need for systems to support it. Joe noted the importance of assessments in hiring and referenced the success of companies that utilized psychological insights. Finally, he pointed to the success of companies that were built based on psychology.


Emotional Resilience: The Company's Role and Benefits


Joe discussed the importance of emotional resilience in the workplace, highlighting that it is not the company's role to create emotionally resilient individuals but rather to provide an environment that supports and encourages personal growth. He emphasized that the hardships faced in such an environment can actually contribute to resilience. He also mentioned a free emotional resilience assessment provided by his company, and encouraged listeners to connect with him on LinkedIn. In his final thoughts, Joe stressed that psychological safety is an outcome of resilient teams, and advised focusing on emotional resilience to create a sense of safety in the workplace.


Listen to the episode here:


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