A few years ago, Centric Consulting team member Carmen Fontana launched her first Artificial Intelligence project. The goal? Craft machine learning to predict and manage human resources conundrums, such as project staffing. The initiative involved a new-to-Carmen technology, a dual-shore team and a healthy dose of ambiguity. We funded her anyway.
Carmen was participating in Centric’s newly minted innovation incubator which allows any employee to conceive and share product and process improvement ideas. Her idea was stellar, even if the roadmap was sketchy at best.
Carmen thought if companies like Netflix, Amazon and Spotify could observe, record and learn user behavior, allowing them to continually fine-tune their recommendation algorithms far beyond the scope of a traditional Boolean (and/or) statement, then HR could do the same with staffing.
Although much about this innovation journey may sound familiar — from the ambiguity of methods to the lofty (but vision-packed) goals — there’s one core element that most likely does not:
The entire project took place remotely. And we were even able to use it to guide our weekly staffing calls.
Since its inception 20 years ago, Centric has had a thriving “office-optional” workforce, which has grown from just a handful of people to more than 1,000 employees in 13 cities in the U.S. and India.
At a time when everyone is struggling to transition to remote work while innovating, we’ve won an award while doing just that. This year, we were included in Fast Company’s list of “100 Best Workplaces for Innovators.”