Back when Thomas K.R. Stovall apprenticed for a year at a real estate investment firm in Los Angeles, he heard executives complain about not knowing the ins and outs of their companies. Though these executives had worked with customers and employees early on in their careers, it was harder to get critical feedback about what was and wasn’t working within the company once they ascended to the C-Suite. Those executive complaints eventually led Stovall to create a platform that would quickly capture people’s feedback so that companies could better understand the inner workings of their enterprise.
In 2012, Stovall founded Candid, a platform that collects and analyzes crowdsourced feedback using only one survey question. In late August, the company partnered with GCJ Management, a Chicago-based trade show and event planning firm, to collect and analyze feedback from attendees of 15 to 20 trade shows over the next year.
GCJ Management “saw an immediate connection between with what we can potentially help them do with massive trade shows and get qualified, insightful feedback with metrics and clear next steps up to people that are decision makers without a lot of noise,” Stovall said.
Candid will be implemented during the upcoming WestEdge Design Fair in Santa Monica, California, during which more than 11,000 attendees are expected, and and the SofaExpo in Chicago, where about 35,000 people are expected to attend. As part of the partnership, attendees and exhibitors can submit their feedback before, during and after the event using Candid, Stovall said.
Using OmniView, Candid’s data dashboard, companies can create one specific question that they want to ask employees, event attendees, customers, or whomever they want. The platform can collect and sort through data points such as location, time, context and the words used in responses. Candid uses only one survey question to enable companies to ask really specific questions and elicit honed-in answers from respondents, Stovall said.
Within seconds, OmniView users can see whether the responses are largely positive or negative, and they can see which words are used most often in responses. Using a the Prevailing Narratives tool, executives can see a “Wordle”-like word cloud that enlarges the words respondents used the most and shrinks words they used least.
“It allows you to visualize what’s happening in a few different ways, so you do not have to be super technical to use it,” Stovall said. “The first thing they see is the Microfeedback Stream. It’s like an internal Twitter feed that streams feedback … It streams in one comment every second and a half.”
Though small businesses could use the technology, in theory, it’s more so meant for larger enterprises due to Candid’s current pricing structure, Stovall said.
Stovall wants to expand the platform’s application outside of one-off events. The company’s current clients include International Facilities Management Association, Illinois Education Association, and North Shore Towing, but he’d like to see the technology used for assessing the effectiveness of public transportation, restaurant groups, hotels, planes and policing transparency.
As Stovall aims to scale the company beyond events, he hopes that more businesses and organizations will see the value in collecting people’s input in real-time. In the beginning, he was met with some resistance from business owners who aren’t accustomed to getting waves of opinions.
“The fear that comes with giving everyone a voice overnight, that can be scary for an organization,” Stovall said. “Overwhelmingly what happens when people use Candid is they realize people aren’t just trolling and saying negative stuff. Actually, [people have] a lot of really constructive and positive stuff if we give them more than one time a year to say it.”