Fostering a corporate culture of making the most of failure

Kaiji Press Co., Ltd.
Interview article published on May 11, 2021
Link to original text (PDF): 掲載記事_海事プレス0511.pdf

SAYFR uses gamification

SAYFR is a company that provides know-how and digital tools to help companies build a culture of failure. Based on the view that building a mature corporate culture is essential to prevent serious accidents at sea, which have a significant impact on society, SAYFR provides gamification-based learning applications for human behaviour. We spoke to Yuzuru Goto, director of SAYFR, who is introducing the company’s services to Japan.

Aiming for zero major accidents

— Can you tell us about SAYFR?

SAYFR was established in 2018 as an independent division of Propel, a Norwegian maritime consulting company. Propel was originally set up in 2010 by people from the classification society DNV. The mission is to turn failure into benefit for everyone. Focusing on human behaviour and corporate culture, the company aims to solve social problems, such as the eradication of serious accidents, by providing know-how and digital tools at scale.

— What do you offer?

We provide digital tools for the maritime and offshore industries, such as learning apps on human behaviour, using gamification and simulation. It’s a SaaS model that uses the smartphone of each frontline worker to provide more realistic training, closer to the workplace, so that they can immediately apply what they learn to their day-to-day work. It’s a fun and active way to learn while competing with your colleagues. There are three main apps: the first is “SAYFR WE”, where everyone in the organisation learns individually, and the second is “SAYFR TEAM”, where teams learn together. The second ‘SAYFR TEAM’, is a team-based programme in which seafarers and others on board the same ship discuss and share ideas and develop a common sense of how to behave and what to look out for. The last one is ‘SAYFR ME’, which is aimed at leaders. In order to change people’s behaviour and corporate culture, the most important thing is to set an example for the leaders. The programme is designed to help leaders analyse their own personality traits and see how their words and actions reflect on their subordinates.

In the past, most training in the shipping and maritime industry has been delivered in training centres, using simulators and e-learning. Training centres are difficult to attract everyone due to cost and seafarer rotation, and the training tends to be ad hoc. It is important that the learning is firmly linked to changes in daily behaviour. I hope that we can use the latest digital tools to support all members of the organisation, regardless of position or background, to receive training at the same time, wherever they are in the world, and link this to actual behaviour change.

The importance of considering the structure of the industry

— The company also offers consulting services.

In order to prevent serious accidents and achieve sustainability, it is necessary to change not only the words but also the behaviour of everyone in the organisation. In normal times, we help to create a corporate culture where everyone can break down hierarchical barriers and openly report and share failures. If failures at a site are not shared for whatever reason, the same mistakes can be repeated at other sites without learning from them as an organisation, and this chain of failure can lead to serious accidents. In order to make management aware of this risk, we are also conducting assessments of the maturity of the corporate culture. I believe that corporate culture will become a higher priority for management in Japan in the future.

— What do you feel about introducing the service to Japan?

I have been in Japan for two years and I feel that there are structural issues in the shipping industry that need to be addressed before the use of digital tools. When ship management and crew deployment is outsourced to a number of (i.e. too many) third parties, the distance between the shipowners’ top management and the crew/front-line is so great that when there is a problem or an accident at sea, it is difficult for the shipowners’ top management to understand the real cause. When we interview seafarers, their sense of belonging is often not to the shipowner, but to the manning or management company, and it is not easy to change seafarers’ attitudes and behaviour in order to solve the shipowner’s problems. If we are serious about achieving zero major accidents, we may need to address this issue.

The need for multilingual content

— How are the services being used?

The consulting model is being used in Japan by MOL LNG, Kawasaki Kinkai and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, while the SaaS model is being used overseas by BW Offshore, Klaveness and Yinson. This is the first time that the model has been used in Japan by a ship managed by the Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” Line) Group, which we have supported since 2015 in part through a corporate culture development project.

With the spread of the new coronavirus, it is difficult to conduct face-to-face training and visits to ships as we have done in the past, so we can offer digital tools as an alternative. The focus on seafarers’ wellbeing, the improvement of Wi-Fi on board and the growing momentum for the use of data will give momentum to the introduction of digital tools.

— What are the future plans for the service?

We want to use the SaaS model to support corporate culture change programmes on a large scale, not only to communicate theories but also to help companies solve their problems by influencing people’s behaviour, leading to a significant impact on society. We will also continue to develop our digital tools to make them more effective for learning, and we will make them available in multiple languages, including Japanese, so that they can be used in the users’ native tongue.

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