Click here to pre-register for Aion Teams
In April 2020, having just registered Cosmic Centaurs as a company but without a clear idea of what we would be selling, I found myself in many interesting conversations around the way companies were adapting to the impending lockdown.
In one such conversation, I was speaking to a friend who runs an IT support company. He mentioned, jokingly, that his competitor had decided to bring staff to the office 50% of the time, whereas he had already asked everyone to work from home. In those early weeks of the pandemic, there was no clear directive from the government to go from.
I didn’t understand why he thought that was funny. He said: “This guy went from being the CEO of the company to being its Chief Scheduling Officer.”
That was the lightbulb moment
Even though no one had a clue how long this pandemic would last or how we would adapt our ways of working for that duration, it seemed quite certain that things would never return to their pre-pandemic state. While innovators and early adopters seemed more likely to make the jump into a remote or distributed first model, many companies and industries were likely to choose a hybrid model, with their staff coming into the office some of the time.
We now know that to be the case.
And while the world abounds in scheduling engines that help shift-based industries (such as healthcare, hospitality, or manufacturing) to organize their staff’s time, there is no such tool for knowledge-based teams, for which colocation is sometimes a necessary part of the process.
That’s how the idea for Aion came to us and we set off to build a tool that would help teams decide how they spend their time both individually and collectively, and by extension how they create spaces (both physical and virtual) for team formation, relationship building, collaboration, and innovation.
About the name
We chose the name Aion because, in greek mythology, Aion is the god of the ages. Unlike the better-known god of time Chronos, Aion is the god of abundant time. Our logo, with a ring around Aion, resembles the depiction of Aion who carries an orb or circle encompassing the universe.
We are now a team of eight actively working on building this product from the ground up. Three of us are in Dubai, two of us are in Beirut, two of us are in Bosnia, and one of us is in Madrid.
As expected, the idea has developed and mutated a number of times since we began, but always with the focus on answering a single big question: “ How can we help distributed or hybrid teams improve their collective happiness, intelligence, innovation, and productivity?”
Our theory is that if we can help teams define the best way for individuals and groups to allocate and spend their time, gain access to contextual information about one another, as well as help them develop the rituals to collectively engage in, we can help improve their psychological safety and by extension raise their collective intelligence.
12 months later we are about to release our MVP
This MVP is a website, where organizations can register, create physical and virtual workspaces, define physical office capacities, invite team members, and access a shared calendar view. The calendar view allows them to:
Mark their daily work location, choosing between distributed, in office, or days off
Share their daily mood directly on the calendar view or through a daily email asking how they feel using a list of customized emojis.
Both work locations and mood tracking emojis will then be visible on the calendar to other teammates.
Beyond the MVP, we will be working iteratively, engaging directly with our users and listening to their needs to help prioritize our feature backlog and release increments to the product.
If you and your team would like to join us on this journey please sign up here.
The first 10 teams to sign up will take part in a special onboarding and engagement journey with us, including facilitated workshops, bi-weekly feedback sessions, and a dedicated team manager that is here to support you.
So many people have contributed to this journey it would be hard to thank all of them but we have tried our best to remember those who have helped us get to where we are today. A massive thank you to:
The team at Cosmic Centaurs
The team at Alpha Code Solutions
The Dare to Scale family
Jad Bou Chebl
Nejib Bou Habib
Prof. Jose Santos
Prof. Mark Mortensen
Prof. Phanish Puranam