Pythia is Too "Big Brotherish"

03/08/2022 - Bill Crose

Every new technology is met by some people and organizations with great dread while others embrace it with open arms. People resisted the first computers, cellular phones, and smart speakers over "big brother" fears of oppressive control. From that perspective, Pythia is just the latest in a very long list of technologies that some will fear and others will love. Given Pythia's benefits, it promises to become more akin to computers, cellular phones, and smart speakers than Google Glass, Betavision, or another virtual reality iteration. However, like all other technologies, Pythia's perception and success in an organization will be highly dependent upon how it is presented, implemented, and maintained.

Pythia enables workers to perform tasks with little to no advance training, assures every step is performed in the proper sequence, and supports continuous improvement. It does these things by verbally delivering work instructions step-by-step, not advancing to the next step until prompted by the worker's verbal command, and capturing the time workers spent on each step along with their continuous improvement feedback. It's the time capture capability that raises "big brother" concerns. Our response:

  • Automatically capturing the time workers spend on each workflow step they perform produces valid, unbiased, reliable data at greater detail than previously possible across manual worker populations. Without this data, decisions including compensation administration, succession planning, and job assignments are made using flawed, unreliable, and often biased information. For this reason, organizations and workers alike should prefer better data over flawed data, which ultimately hurts both organizations and workers.

Pythia benefits outweigh any "big brother" concerns. The benefits include:

  • Pythia and training/learning programs share the same goal; to enable workers to perfectly perform every step of every assigned workflow every time the steps are performed on-the-job.

-Pythia uses advanced technologies to accomplish this goal while training and learning uses worker memories. Clearly, memories can fail and often do so when workers are under stress. However, Pythia always delivers every step in the perfect order, every time a workflow is performed.

-Pythia accomplishes this goal instantly as people work, with less supervision, as it produces valid, unbiased, reliable performance interval data and captures worker feedback to support continuous improvement.

-Workers can produce more consistent products and deliver higher quality service with lower waste and re-work by following step-by-step instructions instead of relying on their memories.

  • Training and learning require memorization and memorization has limits, which means some processes workers must perform are unlearnable. So, how does learning enable workers to perform unlearnable procedures? The answer; it can't.

-For the record, "unlearnable" workflows include those with: 1) Too many procedures to memorize in the allotted learning time, 2) Procedures with too many steps to memorize, 3) Procedures with steps that change too often to memorize, and 4) Procedures performed too infrequently to memorize?

-To reiterate, if process steps cannot be memorized in the time allotted for memorization, then no amount of training will help, but Pythia can.

  • The "Forgetting Curve"1 has proven learners forget up to 60% of training content within 1 hour of the first presentation. How does training/learning assure workers recall every step of every process they perform on the job after 60% of their training content has been forgotten? The answer is, it cannot.

-When using Pythia, workers can memorize learnable workflows with spaced practice, often without additional training. This saves time and money that would otherwise be wasted on training/learning efforts.

  • The "Learning Curve"2 has proven performance accuracy and efficiency improves with each consecutive attempt aka practice. How does training/learning assure workers have sufficient opportunities to practice what they learned? The answer is, training/learning organizations rarely take responsibility or accountability for performance, therefore, their ability to provide practice opportunities after a training program has ended rarely exists.

-When post-training practice is provided, the wrong steps may be practiced. This often happens when supervisors fail to support the workflows and methods delivered via training/learning programs.

-Pythia can provide practice post-training/learning practice opportunities 24/7, globally, and the steps practiced will always remain constant.

  • There are many jobs and workflows that must be performed perfectly every time; think nuclear power plant operators, surgeons, epidemiologists, and chemists who could cause great damage or loss of life after making a single process error. When performance quality and perfection matter, would you want workers to trust their recall to perform assigned workflows or would you want them to use Pythia to follow step-by-step instructions and never miss a step? The answer is obvious.

-Pythia reduces liability for personal injury and property damage by assuring every step of every workflow is performed in the exact order prescribed, every time.

  • Workers and students can take charge of their performance by using Pythia's reports to reveal, at process step detail, where they need coaching or other support, then request that help from their supervisors and peers.

-Pythia accelerates continuous improvement by enabling workers to proactively identify weaknesses and seek support for those specific needs.

  • Workers and students reliably know how their performance compares with their peers, void of bias, while keeping identities confidential.

-Pythia provides a rational, logical, data-driven perspective of individual and group performance and quickly reveals root problem causes.

  • Workers can begin contributing to their organization sooner and with less time spent on initial training. Putting all workers through the same training before knowing who can do what without the training is costly, inefficient, and can be demoralizing to the most capable workers.

-Pythia saves time and money by enabling workers to become productive even before training, then enables coaching to fill most other needs

Take Action

Moving forward always begins with the first step. In this case, the first step is to get a free Pythia account and see how it works. If all goes well, you'll see how easy it is for workers and organizations to continuously improve performance by verbally delivering work instructions, then capturing and reporting the performance interval for each step. From there, contact me at Adyton or one of its distributors to arrange a pilot program. A pilot program will enable you to experience the entire Pythia system including entering your processes into the system, running processes in real time, and running reports to reveal continuous improvement opportunities across your organization.

Bill Crose


1 Forgetting Curve -,it's%20called%20Ebbinghaus%20forgetting%20curve.

2 Learning Curve -


About the Author

Bill Crose is the founder and CEO of Adyton and inventor of the PythiaTM verbal workflow management system. He has 30 years of experience in the performance improvement and learning technology disciplines. Bill has an MS in Instructional Design from Western Michigan University, holds 2 patents, and 1 patent pending for performance improvement technologies.